#1m1w in the Bible

[Since the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA this week, anti-gay Christian groups have been trying to start a trend on Twitter, under the hashtag "#1m1w", to promote the "one man-one woman" view of marriage that the Bible allegedly teaches. With that in mind, it's probably a good time to repost this essay from 2008 about the biblical endorsements of polygamy, to remind the religious right about these verses they inexplicably seem to keep forgetting.]

In recent years, anti-gay bigots operating under the guise of “defending traditional marriage” have made many statements like this one:

“Since the dawn of mankind, the sacred bond of marriage has been correctly defined as a union between one woman and one man.

…Our views on marriage are shaped not only by America’s laws, but by God’s laws. It is part of the shared heritage of the civilized world.”

—Pat Boone, “Marriage: One man, one woman“. Knight Ridder, 14 May 2004.

Pat Boone is wrong on both counts, even by his own standards. What the religious right would like very much for us all to forget is that marriage has not been “defined as a union between one woman and one man” since “the dawn of mankind”. On the contrary, the very written records that Boone and others hail as “God’s laws” show that quite different standards have often been in vogue. To see just what I mean, consider the following little-known Bible verses – the ones which show that, in Old Testament times, polygamy was not just accepted but common.

One of the Bible’s earliest polygamists was the Israelite patriarch Jacob. When Jacob lusted after Rachel, the daughter of the wealthy landowner Laban, Laban pulled a switcheroo and sent his other daughter, Leah, to the bridal bed instead. When Jacob discovered that he had been tricked, he didn’t bemoan the fact that his wife was not the woman he wanted. Nor did he seek a divorce. Nope, he bargained with Laban and ended up marrying both his daughters!

“And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.”

—Genesis 29:28

Ultimately, Jacob ended up with four wives/concubines – not just Leah and Rachel but their handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah. Jacob was not condemned by God for this arrangement, and in fact the twelve children he had by his multiple wives ended up becoming the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jacob was just one of many polygamists in the Bible. Some others included Gideon (Judges 8:30), Elkanah, father of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:2), and kings such as Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:21), Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:21), and Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:3). Most famously, Solomon himself had “seven hundred wives… and three hundred concubines” (2 Kings 11:3). None of these royal polygamists were chastised or punished by God for this – except for Solomon, but even here the exception proves the rule. According to the Bible, Solomon’s sin was not that he married many wives, but that he married foreign wives who turned him away from worshipping Yahweh (11:4).

Was polygamy just a Hebrew tribal custom, disliked but tolerated by God? Hardly: the Torah itself, God’s law book, endorses polygamy by giving rules on when and how a man was allowed to take more than one wife and how the rules of inheritance worked in this situation.

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”

—Exodus 21:10

“If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn.”

—Deuteronomy 21:15-16

Like many big men in primitive tribal societies, the biblical kings and patriarchs took multiple wives as status symbols, a way of showing off their wealth and power. Naturally, the women were treated as property and expected to be subservient to this arrangement. If Yahweh had problems with this arrangement, he never said so; like many fictional characters, he evidently shared the moral outlook of his creators.

By the New Testament, things seem to have changed, though verses commanding that bishops could only marry one wife (1 Timothy 3:2) suggest that the custom still lingered. And even in the New Testament, the polygamists of old times were never explicitly condemned. On the contrary, polygamists like Gideon were proclaimed to be heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

Biblical polygamy undercuts the anti-gay bigots by showing that the definition of marriage has evolved through history and is still doing so. Most of this change has been for the better, making marriage an ever-closer approximation to the ideal of a joining between consenting equals, rather than a transfer of female property from father to husband, as it once was. Tragically, even today there are some sects that keep alive the abuses of patriarchy and polygamy, perpetuating the same cruel, unjust treatment of women that was the custom in biblical days. Like the opponents of gay marriage, their addiction to unjust and irrational dogma continues to cause harm to real people in the name of faith.

Image credit: Shutterstock

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    I have read the Jews only stopped practicing polygamy when it was suppressed by the Roman Empire. The ancient Romans apparently were not fans of it.

  • Alejandro

    Taking the argument one step further, one could say that traditional marriage is defined as an union between a man and a woman who never get divorced and never have sex with anyone else. To be consistent, conservatives should also be against divorce and for outlawing adultery. Yet they get divorced and cheat on each other like everyone else.

    Of course, everything would be much easier if the government had nothing to do with marriage in the first place. If two adults regardless of gender wanted to get married, they could write any legally binding contract they wanted to regarding spousal support, parenting plans, healthcare, etc, and all the government would have to do is enforce those contracts. Everything would be much simpler. But since both conservatives AND liberals want the government’s nose on people’s private business, we are going to be arguing about gay marriage for a long time.

  • Anat

    The official prohibition of polygamy in Judaism comes from a ban placed by Gershom ben Judah around 1000 CE. Yemenite Jews, who lived among Muslims and had little contact with rabbis of other countries continued to practice polygamy well into the 20th century.

  • Jason Wexler

    I am not an expert or even curious about Jewish and Middle Eastern history or culture, so I would suggest deferring to Anat’s answer on this question. However I do something about the Romans and they were fairly sexually open especially by our standards. Although the cultural expectation of male sexual fidelity in marriage dates to about 1950, there was of course no expectation for men to be faithful in ancient Rome. Additionally they had other institutions parallel to marriage to allow for legal recognition of either ownership of the sexuality of a woman who was not the wife or an expectation of sexual and romantic fidelity with another man (concubinage and adoption).

  • Jason Wexler

    We probably won’t be arguing about gay marriage for that much longer. Emboldened by the Supreme Court victories this week marriage equality groups have put forth a five year plan to get marriage equality nationwide. Additionally statistical poll analysis guru Nate Silver has projected when each state would be likely to pass a pro-marriage equality ballot initiative, and all but two states (Alabama and Mississippi) would probably pass one by 2020, with all 50 states beyond any margin of error passing one by 2034, that’s really only 20 more years, and doesn’t account for any possible and likely increases in social desirability bias.

    Oh and I am also a believer in the idea that government doesn’t have a role to play in marriage, but I have to wonder why in your scenario you limited marriage to two adults? Would you at least allow multiple binary marriage? What’s wrong with plural marriage?

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    I recall hearing about that now-I’m surprised the most Orthodox Jews accepted him doing away with the parts of Jewish Law that allowed it. This also doesn’t mean the Romans hadn’t suppressed it centuries before, which might explain why polygamy had become defunct so no one cared. Have to research more on that…

  • Martin Penwald

    I´ve just heard the point of a bigot today on the radio. According to him, forbidding marriage to same-sex couple is necessary to protect children.

    And that is extremely interesting : these stupids can´t say they want to forbid same-sex marriage because they hate gays and lesbian. So, their main argument now is that children who are raised by married same-sex couple are, _obviously_, disturbed (yeah, I like the obviously part : « it´s obvious because I say so » ). Then, for the sake of children, same-sex couple can´t be married.

    The idiocy of the speech is amazing, because they don´t condamn (officially) NOT-married same-sex couple who raise children. But according to their theory, these children are in danger too.
    By the way, children with single parent are probably equally in danger.

    So it is not about marriage, it´s only LGBT hate.

  • Erp

    I don’t think it is abolished but rather in abeyance for the safety of the community because they were living in Christian countries that opposed polygamy and were quite ready to hurt or kill Jews given the slightest excuse. There is as far as I know no religious penalty attached. Note for instance that under Orthodox Judaism if a Jewish couple civilly divorces but the husband does not give his wife a ‘get’, they are not really divorced. If the woman remarries her later children are classified as mamzer and face fairly severe restrictions on who they can marry (within the religion or if they want to marry in Israel). However if the husband remarries his later children face no such restrictions (though the marriage itself wouldn’t be recognized in Israel). This disparity has led some former husbands to refuse their former wives a get in order to extract concessions that the divorce court wouldn’t consider (less likely to happen in Israel where the courts have been known to jail men until they give their wives gets). Note the woman could be non-religious but still not want her future children stigmatized within her culture.

  • smrnda

    The problem is that these contracts would be complicated and not all the same, and would be difficult and costly to draw up since everybody would have to do exhaustive legal research instead of just getting a workable standard deal that, in most cases, is good enough. In a crisis of some kind, like one member of the couple being hospitalized, before decisions could be made the contract would have to first be located, then interpreted given the situation at hand, and when time is of the essence, this can be a real problem. Simpler? That’s a laughable claim given what you’re proposing. Instead of everybody with basically the same deal in the same situations, you’d have to do this every time anyone in a couple has some major event. Marriage at least provides some legally agreed upon minimum that is already understood, so you don’ have to dig through a unique and idiosyncratic contract at every major event and crisis.

    If you’re opposed to government being involved with marriage, it would still be involved in the legally binding contracts and would have to have the power to enforce them, so it doesn’t seem to be any change there at all.

    The other thing is that, there’s nothing to stop couples from drawing up additional legal documents, like pre-nups and such, when they get married, and many things such as child support agreements have to be sorted out in each unique case anyway.

  • Alejandro

    Of course, if people have to write the contract themselves it would be quite complicated and time consuming. In reality you would just take 500 bucks out of the wedding budget, go to a lawyer and have the lawyer write any legal contract you want. Like you say, it is not really a huge difference from a prenup, or a pre-written parental agreement, or whatever. The lawyer would explain the contract and help both reach an agreement that you are both comfortable with.

    Sure, it may be just a bit extra work before the wedding, but think about how much money, time and stress it would avoid in the event of a divorce. It makes sense considering the divorce rate is around 50% in America. I don’t know how old you are and wether you have friends who have gone trough a separation, but if both parties can’t reach an agreement easily, a divorce will end up costing a ridiculous amount of money on lawyers.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    That seems similar to the Mormon prohibition of polygamy, escaping pressure by hostile forces around them.

  • smrnda

    I don’t think you actually paid any attention to my comment whatsoever. Let me spell out my point:

    If I become hospitalized, I want my same sex partner given access to me and given the authority to make decisions on my behalf. If we are legally married, this is automatic, and every hospital will get this point right away.

    If we have a contract that we drew up privately, extremely vital time might be lost digging through pieces of paper. I have read of many instances where same sex partners have been denied access to their partners in hospitals because the hospital decided to play dumb that ‘o, we didn’t know a civil union got you that!’ People are committed to discrimination against same sex couples, including fucking them over in a crisis. I think that’s the point I wanted to make that you missed.

    I also don’t get why you want to deny me access to a state sponsored institution that I would like to take part in. If you don’t want ‘the government’ in your business, skip marriage and draft up your document, just fuck off when it comes to taking away an option that I’d like to have that’s currently available. I haven’t found ‘getting married’ to result in any sort of intrusive state scrutiny for anyone I’ve known.

    First, lots of people spend 0 dollars on a wedding because they can’t afford to spend anything. They’re only throwing out a little bit of cash for the piece of paper at the courthouse. If you think everybody is having posh weddings and have 500 to throw around, I’d like to find out what alternate universe you inhabit . Why should you have a right to take away a 25 dollar option and then demand, in the name of ‘liberty’ that everybody go out and spend 500 on a lawyer? Some shit idea of liberty – shut down an affordable government option and force me to spend more $$$ at a private sector vendor that offers an inferior, non-standardized product.

    Divorces are costly, everybody knows that, and pre-nups are currently available. People are already free to draft them up if they want to, nothing is stopping them.

    Exactly why are you intent on removing the affordable option of a marriage and forcing everyone to deal with lawyers? I’d really like to know why you’re intent on pissing and shitting on me like that.

  • Alejandro

    Of course, hospitals can play fool now, since marriage is a function of the government. If the government was removed from the equation and people got married on their own, hospitals would adapt, They would have to. And I don’t understand why showing them a marriage contract is “digging through pieces of paper” in a way that showing them a marriage certificate is not.

    Regarding the accesibility, the 500 dollar figure was a top estimate based on the actual situation. But again, if this system was adopted, over time several law firms would offer flat marriage contract services and things would become much cheaper (since the demand for such a thing would be high). And I think you are overestimating the amount of people who choose to get marrief but don’t even have 100 dollars to spare.

    Let me give you some good news since you seem to be so worried about the hospital thing: there is a thing called a health care proxy, which can be done pretty much for free, and allows you to designate someone as an agent in case something happens to you (the same status that your partner would obtain). That person can be annyone, even a close friend. So single persons can have access to this right as well. Did you knew that, or did you think such an important thing was reserved to married people? Wouldn’t that be discrimination against singles? Why shouldn’t I allow my serious girlfriend to have access to me in the hospital without having to sign a piece of paper saying that if she decides to leave me down the road she gets to take half of my stuff with her??

    You say that if you are worried about finances you can just sign a prenup, well, I can also say the same thing: if you are so worried about health care, you can legally designate somebody as your agent. It is not that difficult.

    But you and I know this is not really the main issue, not close to it. Gays and lesbians are not protesting because they can’t have access to their partners in the hospital, since this is a right everyone can have anyway. The main issue is the fact that the government can decide which groups are allowed to marry and which aren’t, which could not be done if marriage was in the hands of people instead of the hands of the state.

  • Azkyroth

    In reality you would just take 500 bucks out of the wedding budget, go to a lawyer

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Azkyroth

    You aren’t seriously suggesting that policy positions should be informed by some kind of consideration of the real-world effects on actual people, are you? [/snark]

  • Jason Wexler

    If the hospital or its employee is disinclined to believe that a particular marriage is valid, then marriage doesn’t solve the problem. I am not aware of any instance where a hospital asked to see proof of a claim that someone was married, but I have lied in the past and claimed to be the husband of a close friend in order to see them in the hospital.

    Or consider the Terry Schivo case, in which advanced directives and marriage were no help at all when someone else decided they didn’t like the decision her husband made. Yes he was vindicated in the end, but at a cost of millions to the people of Florida and years of suffering as it turned out for Terry.

    Having worked in a nursing home for a time, I know that advanced directives can be illegally superseded by the whims of family members and sometimes not even the person with medical power of attorney. I witnessed a vegetative DNR revived when a close friend cried and threatened legal action, by a nurse/nun who rejected the concept of DNR . I am not saying that these things happening is right or good, but that they do exist and often you are at the whim of hospital or employee you are dealing with, more often then not even with same-sex spouses that whim is to be universally accommodating.

  • smrnda

    Real world – hospitals don’t fuck around when you’re married. They can and do play games when any other situation is involved. Adapt? Are Catholic hospitals “adapting” to the demands of patients who don’t want to be denied contraception? No, they’re attempting to buy up more hospitals to reduce consumer choice so that people get stuck with Catholic hospitals where the bishops and not doctors make health decisions.

    I was aware of the health care proxy but this still can present problems in terms of who gets to visit you, and I would simply prefer the less-likely-to-get-fucked with ‘marriage certificate.’

    “The main issue is the fact that the government can decide which groups
    are allowed to marry and which aren’t, which could not be done if
    marriage was in the hands of people instead of the hands of the state.”

    You make it sound as if we were living under some sort of monarchy with no ability to say, vote on anything. I will agree that gay marriage proved to be an issue that showed the problems that occur when you put minority rights up to a vote, but I don’t see any evidence that your solution would make my life easier, ergo, I will tell anyone proposing such a solution to ram it down the nearest toilet :-)

    “Regarding the accesibility, the 500 dollar figure was a top estimate
    based on the actual situation. But again, if this system was adopted,
    over time several law firms would offer flat marriage contract services
    and things would become much cheaper (since the demand for such a thing
    would be high). And I think you are overestimating the amount of people
    who choose to get marrief but don’t even have 100 dollars to spare.”

    Libertarian blither-blather. High demand doesn’t lead to lower prices, you just failed basic ECON 101. If people need a service, there’s every incentive to make it as expensive as possible.

    On 100 dollars, a marriage certificate is 25. Anybody who wants to take away my 25 dollar government option so I can spend 100 can shove off.

    I find it HILARIOUS that a libertarian shill is advocating taking away a desirable government option all so I can have to spend (hypothetically) 75 extra dollars, because “government is icky” or something. You feel pretty entitled to subvert democracy and court decisions to force me to spend more of my money than I want to. You think lawyers aren’t out to get the most money out of you possible?

  • smrnda

    Yeah, I should base all policy decisions that ‘government is icky.’

  • smrnda

    There’s also the “Catholic hospital” problem, where the hospital can basically refuse to do medically necessary and life saving procedures out of policy, over the objections from family, spouses, or even doctors. I agree with all you’ve said, and think that’s points to a lot of other problems that need effective solutions.

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart
  • Azkyroth

    Regarding the accesibility, the 500 dollar figure was a top estimate based on the actual situation. But again, if this system was adopted, over time several law firms would offer flat marriage contract services and things would become much cheaper (since the demand for such a thing would be high). And I think you are overestimating the amount of people who choose to get marrief but don’t even have 100 dollars to spare.

    You misunderstand, the $500 figure is absurdly cheap. Have you seriously never sought legal services before?

  • Azkyroth

    You make it sound as if we were living under some sort of monarchy with no ability to say, vote on anything.

    …that spanked us and sent us to bed without dessert.

  • Alejandro

    I don’t live in america. How much could something like that cost? Is not like they would draft a completely new contract each time. Like I said earlier, if this was not done by the government, it would get very cheap since the demand would be high and it would simply boil down to choosing one of several pre-written arrengements.

  • Alejandro

    ” You feel pretty entitled to subvert democracy and court decisions to force me to spend more of my money than I want to.”

    Uh, no, you missunderstood the whole thing. Under my system, nobody would be forced to do anything. If the government had nothing to do with marriage a lot of marriages would cost exactly zero, since people would just move in together, start calling each other husband and wife, and thats it. Only if the are worried about finances then they can sign such a contract, just like you said about prenups today.

    And your whole argument about the government option being cheaper would make sense if we lived in India, where the divorce rate is about 1%. But we are not talking about India. In America about half of the couples that get married will divorce evenatually, and since only 3% of the people bother to get a prenup, the whole thing ends up costing much more than 75 dollars, usually around the thousands. So you prefer an option that will save you 100 dollars or something now over one that will save you thousands of dollars in the future? Wow, thats pretty smart.

    “You make it sound as if we were living under some sort of monarchy with no ability to say, vote on anything.”

    The problem is that these issues shouldn’t be up to voting in the first place. Why should other people have a saying on my private life? (And what get more private than marriage?)

    “I was aware of the health care proxy but this still can present problems in terms of who gets to visit you, and I would simply prefer the less-likely-to-get-fucked with ‘marriage certificate.’”

    Citation needed. What are your basis for saying that hospitals “fuck around” with health proxies, but not with marriage certificates? Even if this is true, the problem is not the law, but rather hospitals not following the law. If you assume that bigotted hospital administrations are not going to follow the law anyway, then it doesn’t make sense to have a discussion on what the law should be. How can you be so sure that they will not continue to play fool once gay marriage becomes legalized?

  • Alejandro

    I don’t have anything against plural marriage in principle. The problem is when you go to your employer and ask him to cover your five wives on your health plan, or something like that. It would be pretty easy to abuse the system if the benefits awarded to one partner could be extended to an arbitrarily large number of people.

  • GCT

    And why, in your view, should your employer cover any sort of health plan for you? You socialist.

  • GCT

    Shorter Alejandro:

    “It’s just $500…I mean $100…I mean free. Yeah, that’s it, it’s free. In my Libertarian utopia it’ll be free, because everything becomes free once you get rid of government…except for everything you now have to pay for…oh forget it!”

    So, what happens when you get a free, non-government recognized marriage and you need to visit that person in the hospital. Should everyone simply assume that you are the person you say you are? Should that hold for same-sex couples? What about if that person seeks to end your arrangement and you can’t decide how to amicably part? Have you actually thought about this beyond the idea that it’s unfair that “if she decides to leave me down the road she gets to take half of my stuff with her??”

  • Alejandro

    “So, what happens when you get a free, non-government recognized marriage and you need to visit that person in the hospital.”

    I already responded to this earlier. It is very easy (and free) to apoint somebody as a legal surrogate in those cases. Gender doesn’t matter, and the person doesn’t even have to be your partner. I don’t see why you people keep bringing this up when this is a right that everybody can have anyway. If the only way to have access to this right was to get legally married, then I see why you may have a point, but is far from it.

    “What about if that person seeks to end your arrangement and you can’t decide how to amicably part?”

    I don’t get the point of the question. What happens if my serious girlfriend decides to break up with me? Nothing, we just break up. It would be sad and all but nothing about the situation would require spending thousands of dollars on lawyers. If we had kids and we can’t reach a parenting agreement, then the family court will decide something based on the best interest of the child, like it happens already (and it happens with both single and divorced couples, so marriage makes no difference there)

  • Jason Wexler

    The kind of lawyers that work on that sort of law typically charge between $150 and $400 an hour, and rarely do anything in less than 2 hours. You be lucky to get away for a $1000 per document.

  • smrnda

    You keep making this point about divorce. If you’re worried about that, tell people to get pre-nups *in addition to* getting married. I don’t see a point in taking away the option of marriage.

    If the issue is you’re saving people from themselves who might get divorced, I think that’s a pretty obnoxious and patronizing position. It’s one thing to advise prenuptial agreements, it’s another to advocate the abolition of marriage because you think people are too stupid to assess risks for themselves. You’re being obnoxious and patronizing in your belief that YOU ARE ENTITLED to express your own confidence in the likelihood of a couple getting a divorce rather then letting it be up to them. You might as well be forcing me to buy a product I don’t want on the grounds that YOU think I’m not appreciating how useful it might be in the case of a certain type of event. I thought libertarians were against forcing people to spend money on things “for their own good?”

    I mean, statistically, I’m part of the demographic that would be the least likely to divorce. Educated, affluent, and partners up later in life. Your belief that I should be forced to deal with a lawyer when I don’t think its worth it is pretty annoying.

    Marriage, being a government institution, gets pretty uniform legal protection. Being a government institution, a person’s married status can be easily verified.

  • smrnda

    High demand does not necessarily result in lower prices.

  • Azkyroth

    High demand makes things cheaper?

    So much for my theory that libertarians have all taken Economics 101 and now consider themselves experts; you clearly haven’t.

  • GCT

    I already responded to this earlier. It is very easy (and free) to apoint somebody as a legal surrogate in those cases.

    And, when someone walks in and claims to be your surrogate because you have a contract of marriage between the two of you that you drew up and this person conveniently doesn’t bring with them? Why should I jump through hoop after hoop after hoop in order to obtain the same rights and services that I get from simply obtaining a marriage license from the state. Doing that one low-cost action grants me and my spouse the same rights that you seem to claim are all available (they aren’t) through other means – other means that will cost more and require a lot more effort to obtain.

    I don’t get the point of the question.

    The point of the question is that when people get married they generally share finances, even if they keep separate accounts. It’s a partnership, and when that partnership dissolves they have to figure out how to divide up their common assets. If you don’t think that can cost lots of money of lawyers, you’re only fooling yourself. Making up your own marriage contract does not solve those issues.

    I’m also going to point out that you seem to have an issue with the idea that ‘she gets to take half of YOUR stuff’ (paraphrased). This is quite obviously coloring your views.

  • Alejandro

    “And, when someone walks in and claims to be your surrogate because you have a contract of marriage between the two of you that you drew up and this person conveniently doesn’t bring with them?”

    Uh, the same thing that happens when someone claims to be your wife but doesn’t bring the marriage certificate with them?

    “Doing that one low-cost action grants me and my spouse the same rights that you seem to claim are all available (they aren’t) through other means – other means that will cost more and require a lot more effort to obtain.”

    Cost more? Uh, no. Appointing someone as a legal surrogate can be done for free by filling a form. Maybe you have to discuss the issue with your doctor, but that about it. If you think just marrying the person is easier you are only fooling yourself.

    “It’s a partnership, and when that partnership dissolves they have to figure out how to divide up their common assets. If you don’t think that can cost lots of money of lawyers, you’re only fooling yourself.”

    When two people used to live together but then break up, do they need to go trough a massive legal battle to decide how to split things? No, its usually much simpler. I have known un-married couples who have broken up after living together for six years. In none of those cases lawyers had to be involved even do there was obviously some sharing of finances. Thats because whe don’t have to government telling them how the split should be made.

    And what if they legally co-own assets? then yes, I agree lawyers would have to be involved at some point. But in my scenario it would be treated exactly as if I co-owned something with, lets say, a friend of mine.

    “Making up your own marriage contract does not solve those issues”

    Huh? Of course it would. How could it not solve those issues? If you have a pre-written agreement specifying how things would be split, there is much less room to argue about. Pretty much the same way a well made prenup can solve these issues today.


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