a panel of four government departments, after a review that began in November 2006, has decided that all the wives of a Muslim man may collect state benefits, provided that the marriages took place in a country where multiple spouses are legal.
Opposition has been furious:
Chris Grayling, Works and Pensions spokesman for the opposition Conservative Party, described the government's decision as "completely unjustifiable."
"You are not allowed to have multiple marriages" in Britain, he said, "so to have a situation where the benefits system is treating people in different ways is totally unacceptable."
"This," Mr. Grayling said, "sets a precedent that will lead to more demands for the culture of other countries to be reflected in [British] law and the benefits system."
Corin Taylor, research director for the rights organization Taxpayers' Alliance, was equally blunt.
"Polygamy is not something which British law allows, and therefore British taxpayers should not have to pay extra for extra benefits for second or third wives," he said. "If other countries sanction polygamy, that is fine, but the British taxpayer should not have to fund it."
This can only increase the pressure for the UK to relax the prohibition on polygamy and group marriage.
The Life-Style Left has been claiming that every lifestyle should be equally supported by the government: monogamous marriage should not be "priveleged" by the state. The Left seems to believe that legalizing polygamy, or polyamory as they prefer to call it, will result in a Marin County Hippie Love Fest with all the Birkenstocked commune members sharing household and childcare tasks and getting along nicely. But once multiple marriages are sanctioned by the state, there will be no stopping Muslim-style polygamy, which, will not be, shall we say, a Hippie Love Fest. Polygamy as practiced in the Muslim world is a not a pro-woman institution. And because Muslim-style polygamy will certainly produce more children than the typical Leftist group marriage, it will not take long for Sharia-style polygamy to crowd out feminist-style polygamy.
The Left should really start thinking this through.
Happy Valentine's Day.