“Legalize Polygamy!”

That’s the headline of a new article at Slate.

Readers of the blog may know that I’m skeptical of the rare and rarely enforced state laws that actually make it a crime to live together in what one characterizes as a polygamous relationship, even when one doesn’t claim any legal benefits based on that relationship or deceive people about the legal validity of the relationship. (See here and here.)

But this column seems to go further, calling for legal recognition of polygamous relationships, and not just decriminalization of such relationships. One can see this in the column’s discussion of immigration, and its analogy to the calls for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Unfortunately, the column doesn’t discuss whether it’s fair to impose on others — such as employers or taxpayers — some of the burdens that this would create, for instance when it comes to health insurance, social security survivor benefits, and so on. Same-sex couples can plausibly argue that they’re just asking for the same level of benefits that opposite-sex couples get. Polygamous families will often be seeking considerably broader benefits. In any event, it’s interesting to see these arguments getting made, though I expect that they just don’t have a political constituency (see Part IV.C of this article).

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.