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May 20, 2008

No, it doesn't make everyone better off

*Polygamy will likely mean that marital opportunities will diminish for some men, since a few men who are very wealthy or otherwise attractive as mates will have many wives. This constricts the marriage market for less desirable men, which leaves some with no mates at all or delays their marriages as compared to their opportunities in a non-polygamous society. And unmarried men present all kinds of difficulties for societies. By contrast, SSM will mean that meaningful marital opportunities will be available for gay persons. More people will be married. Thus, SSM expands marriage opportunities while polygamy contracts them.
On to polygamy?


Closeted bisexual and homosexuals used to marry as an alternative to pursuing their genuine sexual interests. Surely legalizing gay marriage reduces opportunities for their potential heterosexual partners. If the number of gay men and women are unequal, this would diminish the total number of partnerships.

Gay marriage and polygamy both need not be Pareto improving, at least without transfers. That doesn't make it bad public policy, but this is a false defense of gay marriage at the expense of polygamy.

Posted by OneEyedMan at May 20, 2008 11:39 AM

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