Where can I legally marry my several girlfriends?

I have a couple or three or four girlfriends I want to marry. In which Western nation can I legally marry them?

Can I go to Bonga-Bonga-Stan (the Maldives seems popular) and marry them there, and have the marriage legally accepted in Europe/N. America?

I smell a Herman Cain sock puppet.

Screw that. Herman Cain is my sock puppet.

Not really. Because polygamy isn’t legal in the US. Question is, what do you want to do? A guy and 4 women leave the US, then a guy and four women come back to the US. Now what? Will they all change their surnames to match yours? They can do that without being married. No one will stop you from sleeping with and rising children with 4 women. Do you want to use a special income tax form with 3 spouse slots? Because I don’t think they print one of those. You could name yourself on 4 copies of married filing separately, but maybe the tax code doesn’t allow for that? Or will some of you just not pay taxes? If you divorce them all at once, will they each take you to court for alimony? Because we have no laws to govern that.

The Maldives is a western nation?

I worked with a woman from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia? I’m don’t remember) anyway, she was one of three wives - legal in her home country.

Her husband had established US citizenship, and brought her and their three offspring over here. She had to get her citizenship, then be legally divorced by him, so that he could bring wife number two over. Rinse and repeat.

It was quite degrading in her mind to have to sign the divorce papers; which technically released her husband from all responsibility for her and their children if he went back home. It put her in a very precarious situation, so she got a job - against his wishes.

I don’t like plural marriage, but I think we need a better way to deal with it.

Right, the answer is that polygamy is not legal in the US and Europe.

But the “what do you want to do” part is really no more appropriate here than it is/was for gay couples: they* want to be married.

  • Perhaps a hypothetical “they,” for this OP, but there are people interested in plural marriage.

The answer to your question is to be found in the Wikipedia article on “legal status of polygamy”.

Though a polygamous marriage that is fully valid in the country where you got married still won’t be recognized in the US, or in most western countries.

Several western countries (the UK is one) recognize plural marriages performed in countries where they’re legal. I don’t think any western country will let you create a plural marriage within their borders.

Ah, interesting. So a Brit or Kiwi could go to North Africa, get thrice-hitched, bring everybody home, and be fully recognized?

That was my understanding, but looking at ctnguys link, the situation is more complicated then that. NZ, UK and Australia appear to be the three countries that extend some form of recognition to plural marriages from other countries (and Australia apparently allows some domestically as well), but it doesn’t look like its true that the UK treats foreign plural marriages as equivalent to monogamous ones.

From wikipedia

What if the polygamist has diplomatic immunity? On TV at least, diplomatic immunity seems to be some sort of magic shield that allows the possessor to do anything he or she pleases without fear of punitive sanction.

Bonus question: are there any societies, now or in history, where a polygamist could be a woman with multiple husbands?

Well, a diplomat would be immune from bigamy charges, and I suppose a diplomat from a country which allows polygamy could celebrate a polygamous wedding in the embassy.

I don’t know about immunity extending to the spouses of diplomats. Is that based on recognised marriages, or just who the sending country accredits as a relative? There must be cases of a diplomat with a same-sex spouse being sent to a country which doesn’t recognize SSM.

Plyandry is more uncommon, but does still happen in small parts of India and Nepal. Generally speaking it is the result of poverty, where male relatives are unable to support a wife each and so share one. Soemtimes fatehrs and sons even share wives when the Mother has passed away.

Interestingly, the only culture I’ve ever heard of which practised polyandry in the context of wealth and power for the woman was the Celtic. Women held property,families were traced matrilinealally, and wealthy people, males or female, would sometimes have mutliple dedicated mates.

Polyandrous marriages do occur to an extent in some regions of the Himalayan mountains (including Nepal, Bhutan, northern India, and Tibet) where men are commonly seasonal workers who leave home for months at a time.

Polyandry is still practiced in a few cultures in Africa, particularly the Maasai people. Unfortunately, the Maasai females are typically circumcised at a young age to remove the clitoris. I try not to be judgmental and ethnocentric, but just seems barbaric.

It is not circumcision, and it is barbaric.

Spain recognizes plural marriages of foreigners when their own governments do, but this recognition is limited. The level of recognition varies depending on treaties between the governments involved: I find references to widows of Moroccans or Tunisians (polygamy is now illegal in Tunisia but that’s more recent than the treaty) residing in Spain getting widow pensions split; any children would be entitled to full orphan benefits. From the same sources, the situation for consecutive monogamous marriages is similar in that any widows will get the pension split (although in this case it’s linked to how long the marriage lasted before death or separation) and children are entitled to full benefits. But then, orphans can be entitled to benefits without a legal marriage: so long as paternity was recognized (voluntarily or by a court’s decree), they get the benefits.

If someone who already was married back home marries someone else in Spain, it’s illegal. If a group of Spaniards go to another country, get a collective marriage and come back, the Spanish government considers it so much wet paper.

It would not technically be legal BUT among muslims in Trinidad&Tobago there is no stigma attached to polygamy, the population is very laid back about it too so there wouldn’t be any withhunts as there are several prominent figures who openly talk about having multiple wives.

About the only way you could end up in court would be if one of the women is angry with the set up and you committed fraud in getting a marriage license. Bonus is it is pretty much a modern first world nation without a theocratic government.

I know, right? Diplomatic immunity is awesome. Want. Run red lights. Park in handicapped parking (without my placard). Write bad checks. Push over old ladies. Diplomatic immunity, bitches!!

Best laugh I’ve had all week. I needed that.