Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime Facebook Social Networks Idle Your Rights Online

Facebook Wedding Photos Result In Polygamy Arrest In Michigan 267

Posted by timothy
from the polygamy-is-fine-unless-you're-married dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Police in Michigan have arrested 34-year-old Richard Leon Barton Jr. on charges of polygamy, thanks to incriminating wedding photos on Facebook. The man unfriended his first wife on the social network before marrying his second wife, but unsurprisingly that wasn't enough."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Facebook Wedding Photos Result In Polygamy Arrest In Michigan

Comments Filter:
  • More? (Score:4, Funny)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @05:36AM (#35548668) Journal

    Blah blah FACEBOOK blah ARREST blah!

    • Thank you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So he unfriended his first wife, but are they still brother and sister?

  • ... I thought polygamists got more than one.
    • Right you are.

      Polygamy is multiple wives, usually in some form of cohabitation or concubinage.

      This man is a bigamist. Marrying twice, and maintaining separate households.

      I blame HBO.

      • He's not a bigamist. He's someone who got married, they split up, but never legally divorced before getting married again.

        Even if he was a polygamist or bigamist, where's the crime?

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nialin (570647) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @05:39AM (#35548686)
    It makes no sense to me that something like polygamy is an arrestable offense. Aside from the mediocre tax breaks you get from marriage, what are the benefits that you can glean from multiple marriages that would cause it to be inherently illegal?
    • it is a bit crazy... best just not get married in the first place or have some kind of more sensible arrangement like a concubine.

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @06:04AM (#35548776)

        Actually, concubinage isn't really that different from marriage. The difference was just that concubines, unlike wives, didn't bring a dowry into the relationship. Most societies that permitted multiple concubines also permitted multiple wives. It was just easier to attract multiple concubines, as they were generally poorer women who lacked the options available to dowered girls.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheLink (130905) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @06:03AM (#35548772) Journal

      Depending on the marriage vows/contract, it could certainly be considered a breach of contract and a form of fraud.

      Because it seems the guy was being dishonest, that's always a good hint that someone is doing something wrong.

      If he just wanted to consensually have sex with multiple partners, that's not a problem in the USA, but in most states, it is generally assumed that "marriage" means you can't go around doing that.

      From an "evolution" POV it's no surprise that many humans view cheating seriously. They don't produce offspring in the millions.

      BTW committing adultery could technically get you a life sentence in Michigan, if they follow the law to the letter: http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-01-24/news/17225912_1_sexual-conduct-sentence-michigan-court [sfgate.com]

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:14AM (#35549242)

        Violating a contract is a CIVIL matter, not a criminal one.

        Banning polygamy (or same sex marriage) is yet another example, like outlawing smoking marijuana while at home, or blocking teens from drinking with parents' permission, where the State is acting like the Church to enforce their moral values, instead of allowing individuals the Liberty to "pursue happiness" in whatever manner they choose.

        • by zyzko (6739)

          Laws are written to protect the supposedly weaker one and can't be fine-tuned to accomolate every situation but the line must be drawn somewhere if we accept the notion that the law should protect the weaker ones from ignorance/abuse from somehow more powerfull part. On the marijuana case it can be argued that it protects the "state monopoly" to alcohol and cigarettes more than the user from dangers of marijuana, but blocking teen drinking (even if they had permission from their parents) is there to protect

          • Well - most polygamists seem to have a Good Old Boy network, in which one guy turns his daughter over to his old drinking buddy, and the favor is passed along until it comes back to him. All those 30 to 80 year old men telling their 13 to 15 year old daughters who they have to "marry" is pretty damned disgusting to me. While technically not pedophilia, it sure comes close!

            Given a case where two or more grown women KNOWINGLY marry the same guy - well, I couldn't care much less. Stupid broads will get pret

            • by zyzko (6739)

              I agree with you 100% - the disgusting part is the abuse which often for some reason begins when girls are at their (early) teens.

              My point was just that - from a lawmakers point of view if you agree that you must protect these women you have to draw some lines to be able to enforce efficiently - otherwise the law is a dead letter. And so far the line has been drawn in quite a lot places to that you can't be legally married and enjoy the privileges and the recognition of the society to married couples with m

          • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

            by flaming error (1041742) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @11:44AM (#35550730) Journal

            >The reason it is banned is not because of some religion
            Citation needed

            > it is because polygamy can and historically has put
            > women in a "bad contract"
            By "polygamy" you refer to "polygyny" - one man, multiple wives. There is another form called "polyandry" where one woman marries multiple men (often brothers, "fraternal polyandry").

            So in polyandry, would you say that one woman has more power than her husbands? Or could perhaps the dynamic wind up being that she is a lonely servant to a household of men?

            Being outnumbered is not the same as being empowered.

            • by zyzko (6739)

              >The reason it is banned is not because of some religion
              Citation needed

              Yes, churches calling them christian are mostly against polygamy, but there are counter-examples. I really do hope that the reasons of society banning polygamy do lie elsewhere.

              > it is because polygamy can and historically has put
              > women in a "bad contract"
              By "polygamy" you refer to "polygyny" - one man, multiple wives. There is another form called "polyandry" where one woman marries multiple men (often brothers, "fraternal polyandry").

              So in polyandry, would you say that one woman has more power than her husbands? Or could perhaps the dynamic wind up being that she is a lonely servant to a household of men?

              Being outnumbered is not the same as being empowered.

              I would not say yes based on history, but I do know that counter-examples exists. My point was that banning polygamy (and yes, that means mainly polygny, sorry that I don't know the exact varieties in English because this is not my first language) is based not on religion, but in (at least I hope...) to the fact that it often enough

        • The bible doesn't actually prohibit having multiple wives. However, it does say that monogamy is a prerequisite for certain roles in the church (deacon, bishop, etc).
          • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

            by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @10:56AM (#35550326) Homepage Journal

            >>The bible doesn't actually prohibit having multiple wives. However, it does say that monogamy is a prerequisite for certain roles in the church (deacon, bishop, etc).

            Right (1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6-9 address this). A lot of people don't know that.

            Polygamy is never outlawed in the OT; in fact, Levirate marriage (basis for the ancient Jewish social welfare program) completely doesn't work in a monogamous society. Jesus uses Levirate marriage as an example in one of his parables on the afterlife (and doesn't say anything bad about it at all, to the contrary he treats it as a norm), and Paul said that you could be a polygamist and a Christian at the same time, even though he kind of hated sex in all forms. So people like Luther have grudgingly accepted polygamy as being Christian.

            The bit about a bishop needing to be a husband to "one wife" (unius uxoris vir) appears a few times in the Pauline writings. Which the Roman Catholic Church responds to by plugging their ears and yelling loudly at the top of their lungs. (Read their convoluted explaining-away here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_01011993_bfoun_en.html [vatican.va])

            In a nutshell, the RCC reads the requirement for a bishop to be faithful to his wife to *really* be talking about them being celibate and married to the church. Which is quite ridiculous, since those same passages talk about the bishop also needing to be a good father to his children (http://bible.cc/1_timothy/3-4.htm), but I guess once you start in on a metaphor, you can ride that train as long as you want to.

            St. Augustine, who is usually pretty good at theology, tried to explain why polygamy was fine *then* and not *now* with the following: "As the many wives of the ancient Fathers symbolized our future churches of all nations, subject to the one man, Christ, so the bishop, who is the husband of one wife (unius uxoris vir) signifies the union of all nations, subject to the one man, Christ." Which is certainly an interesting, though not particularly compelling explanation.

            • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Ja'Achan (827610) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:09PM (#35551922) Homepage

              In a nutshell, the RCC reads the requirement for a bishop to be faithful to his wife to *really* be talking about them being celibate and married to the church. Which is quite ridiculous, since those same passages talk about the bishop also needing to be a good father to his children (http://bible.cc/1_timothy/3-4.htm), but I guess once you start in on a metaphor, you can ride that train as long as you want to.

              To add to this, Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 7 that you probably should get married, lest you'll be tempted. Arguably, the entire Catholic Church's problems with sex abuse is because they directly go against Paul's advice.

    • by stor (146442) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @06:41AM (#35548892)

      Reminds me of an old joke:

      Q: What's the punishment for polygamy?

      A: Multiple wives.

      -Stor

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      More importantly, how can the city hall allow to marry someone if they're already listed as married to someone else?
      It's the city hall that is wrong here, not the person...

      • by peragrin (659227)

        because the government doesn't share it's information that it has about you with other parts of the government willingly.

        that is called bureaucracy.

        • Or, less cynically, Federalism.

          (Sometimes having jurisdictions not share information is a good thing!)

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snowgirl (978879) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @07:24AM (#35549070) Journal

      What I find even more interesting, is due to DOMA and the weird way we treat homosexual marriages in this country, it's possible that someone could marry a person of the same sex in Massachusetts, move to Texas, and marry a person of the opposite sex, and Texas could not technically charge the person with polygamy. But then, if the person ever went on vacation (or even just had a layover in a city in a state that recognized both marriages) then they could be arrested in that state for polygamy.

      Seriously, this is the whole reason why "full faith and credit" was supposed to be in the Constitution, to keep these sorts of weird ass "am I married in _THIS_ state though?" questions from coming up. Like, there are people in Texas who have been denied a divorce for a legal marriage performed elsewhere, because another state let them get married out of state, but won't allow an out of state divorce, so they have to get divorced in the state they live in, but since Texas doesn't recognize the marriage, it won't grant them a divorce... so they're stuck being married unless they move back to Massachusetts or whatever it was.

      Seriously, FULL FAITH AND CREDIT PEOPLE... it causes a lot fewer headaches...

    • by kimvette (919543)

      What I don't get is why Christians get so frigging bent out of shape over polygamy saying "ZOMG if we allow gay marriage then polygamy is next." Do they even bother to read the frigging bible? Practically every single prophet and great king (including King David, the greatest of the kings) had multiple wives. What the fuck is the big deal with it?

      I have a better idea: Get government out of the business of marriage and deciding who can and cannot marry. After all, marriage is first and foremost an expression

  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @05:40AM (#35548688) Homepage

    Ok, why exactly is that a crime in the first place? Has that something to do with tax evasion or whatever or is that just moral code enforced by law?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

      I bet it has something to do with Michigan.

    • Ironically here is the quote of the day as it appears for me now:

      Natural laws have no pity.

      The history behind why it is illegal goes back to the Mormon prosecution and was used as leverage against the early settlers of the Salt Lake Valley. I don't know all the specifics about it but it wasn't a crime until the late 1800's.

    • by rust627 (1072296) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @06:26AM (#35548852)

      It is a crime by law in most western countries and carries it own unique penalty as summed up by Groucho Marx.

      "Do you know what the ultimate penalty for Bigamy is ?

      2 mothers in law......"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Because most "morality" laws traditionally are based on Judeo-Christian rules and regs. Even in the 21st century we have to suffer under the hand on the Religious Reich.
      • by camperdave (969942) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @10:13AM (#35550004) Journal
        The Judeo-Christian rules and regs say nothing about polygamy apart from certain offices in the church being for monogamists only.
      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>Because most "morality" laws traditionally are based on Judeo-Christian rules and regs.

        Yeah, those damn polygamist Jews and early Christians are certainly to blame for our modern laws.

        Try again.

        If you want to blame the morality laws on anyone, blame the Romans from whom our traditions on monogamy and divorce derive.

        >>Even in the 21st century we have to suffer under the hand on the Religious Reich.

        Just call it the "Roman Reich". It's just as catchy, and not nearly so ignorant.

    • by hcdejong (561314)

      Tax evasion, I guess. Over here (.nl) married couples can fine a combined tax return that results in the couple paying lower taxes than they would have paid as two separate households.
      Also things like inheritance (spouses pay a lower estate tax).

      • Oh, dear foreigner, how quaint; you assume that in the United States are laws are reasonably applied and rationally carried out. I am afraid to break it to you, but our justice system does neither of these. The laws that forbid polygamy don't have any such thing as tax structure as their logical basis. If anything, the basis outlawing such things is religious and perhaps even biological (if somewhat gray-area between bonobos and gorillas).

        Once you are charged with a crime, you are guilty of that crime
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by lennier1 (264730)

      Jail? Aren't two sets of in-laws more than enough punishment?

    • Ask people who want to marry, but are not allowed to. It's close to impossible to give a long-term unmarried relationship the same legal status as a marriage (workarounds like power of attorney tend to not as reliable).

  • They're talking about locking this guy up for four years because he didn't fill out some paperwork. Don't they have better things to do?
  • by Renraku (518261)

    I still think that it's rather funny that the country enforces a single marriage lifestyle. In reality, people should be allowed to do damn near whatever they want as long as it doesn't negatively affect the rights of others or the environment (too seriously).

    To me, the 'single spouse' law would be like a 'single car' law, which pretty much wouldn't affect me at all but I could still laugh about and have debates about from time to time. On one hand, I'll never have two spouses/two cars. On the other hand

    • by ATMAvatar (648864)
      As an appropriate parallel - what about the case where the auto makers only manufactures a limited set of cars and you are left without the ability to purchase one? Keep in mind that public transportation has been made illegal.
  • If yes, then why the hell is it a crime?

    • RTFA. The first one was left without any explanation, and to the second one he said that he was divorced.
      • by Anaerin (905998)
        Then it's not Polygamy, it's Bigamy. Polygamy would be both wives living in the same house as a merged family. Bigamy is marrying someone without getting divorced from your previous spouse.
  • by UBfusion (1303959) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @06:45AM (#35548914)

    Contrary to some comments here, I am all about learning new FB horror stories. These stories provide me useful real-life evidence that I use when advising my friends (and my students) why they shouldn't ever post things that might get used against them. Think 10 times before hitting 'submit'.

  • > The man unfriended his first wife on the social network before marrying his second wife, but unsurprisingly that wasn't enough

    Reminds me of an episode in The Office where Michael Scott screams "I declare bankruptcy"... The accountant had to tell him that it was not enough to just say it.

  • "Drop those wives, and come out with your hands up!"

    So how does Michigan deal with religions that permit polygamy? Do they have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy? And yes, I would consider posting stuff on Facebook "telling."

    Why not try this when making introductions to the new neighbors:

    "This woman is my wife. This woman is my housekeeper. This woman is my cook, etc."

    • by quetwo (1203948)

      The same way they deal with gay marriage -- they don't reconize it, and if you try to file official paperwork trying to get the financial and legal benifits of marriage in the State of Michigan for one of these unreconized marriages then you will be denied.

      There's a lot of bible-thumpers here (in Michigan) outside the major cities that give lots of people hardships for trying to do things above board.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      "Drop those wives, and come out with your hands up!"

      So how does Michigan deal with religions that permit polygamy? Do they have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy? And yes, I would consider posting stuff on Facebook "telling."

      Why not try this when making introductions to the new neighbors:

      "This woman is my wife. This woman is my housekeeper. This woman is my cook, etc."

      While I'm sure you're aware of this, PolygamousRanchKid, this scenario is only illegal in Utah.

      Ironically enough.

      Basically, they're the only s

  • Rhode Island recognizes common law marriage. Assuming that it was a common law arriage, hasn't the accused a reasonable expectation to be divorced after unfriending his wife on Facebook, and generally stopping interacting with her?

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @07:54AM (#35549172)

    ...whatever that means.

  • It strikes me that the ultimate question that underlies all these "issues" surrounding things like marriage is this: is there such a thing as moral behavior or not?

    Most people debate the follow-on instead: "given the assumption that there is such a thing as moral versus immoral behavior, should the government regulate that behavior?"

    I would argue that people behave as if that there is indeed some kind of inherent moral code, although there is much debate over what is immoral and what is immoral. Even relat

  • by mmalove (919245) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @10:12AM (#35550000)

    Why is polygamy illegal?
    Lawyers haven't found a way to exploit it yet.

    See, if 2 people get a divorce, then there's half of everything, and that's a big chunk for the lawyer to work with.

    But, if 3 people get a divorce, that's only a 3rd of everything per lawyer.

    This continues ad nasuem: if you have a rockstar with 100 wives, that's only 1% of his wealth sniped by a gold digger. What kind of tabloid headline would that make? "Golddigger wants divorce, wins 1% of Brad Pitt's fortune!"

    So you see, preposterous. If it bucks the trend of lawyers taking all the money, it ain't gonna happen.

  • The ZDNet story is quite different from the linked MLive story [mlive.com]. http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/03/alleged_grand_rapids_polygamis_1.html [mlive.com] is a followup story with more details. ZDNet has the timeline and details all messed up.

    P.S. The wedding was in Muskegon County, the same place as the Musician Jailed Over Prank YouTube Video [slashdot.org] story.

  • by Anaerin (905998) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @11:45AM (#35550742)

    Given that neither wife knew about the other, this is definitely not polygamy. Polygamy is defined as "a marriage which includes more than two partners", and as the "partners" were in separate, distinct, relationships, this does not count.

    What we have here is a clear-cut case of Bigamy [wikipedia.org] on the man's part. Nothing unusual about that, as there have been many cases over the years.

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @12:14PM (#35551040)

    There was an old fellow of Lyme
    Who lived with three wives at one time.
    When asked, 'Why the third?'
    He replied, 'One's absurd,
    and bigamy, sir, is a crime.'

    -- William Cosmo Monkhouse

  • IANAL, but I think it's clear: defriending someone on Facebook does not count as a divorce or annulment.

    Unless you're Krieger.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

Working...