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美犹他州的“一夫多妻”大家庭

2014-02-11    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Polygamy thrives in Utah

为数十个孩子准备早餐,工作量不可谓不巨大。不过,居住在美国犹他州盐湖城市郊的达格尔一家早已习惯这种有序的混乱场面。据法国媒体2月9日报道,这是一个典型的“一夫多妻”大家庭,而在犹他州,许多人认同并加入达格尔一家的行列。

With 17 of their 25 children still living at home, breakfast is a military operation for the Dargers.

As organized chaos unfolds at the family home in the Utah countryside outside Salt Lake City, the parents come to help out.

Alina is the first, followed by her "sister wives" Vicki and Valerie, and finally their husband Joe.

The Dargers are members of a polygamous marriage, a lifestyle they say is endorsed by their fundamentalist Mormon beliefs.

Joe married cousins Alina and Vicki in 1990. Ten years later, Vicki's twin sister Valerie joined them, after her first plural marriage broke down. She brought five children with her from that relationship.

The family has lived openly for several years now, even publishing a 2011 book entitled "Love Times Three".

But for a long time, Joe Darger says he worried that he might be arrested under the anti-polygamy laws in effect in the western US state.

"The fear when I went public four years ago, that fear was very real," he told AFP.

"This is a third degree felony... this is serious prison time. My grandfathers were imprisoned, so that was a real impact that we felt."

That fear has lifted for now, following a December ruling by a federal judge that struck down a key part of the state's anti-polygamy law as unconstitutional.

Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that legislation banning "unlawful cohabitation" was at odds with the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Alina Darger, who herself works as a lawyer on cases involving polygamy, says the ruling was a relief.

"That's been one of the great things about the ruling -- the decriminalization, and the judge saying basically that the state needs to stay out of people’s bedrooms," she said.

"As long as it's adults freely choosing what they want, then I don't feel it would be my place to tell somebody else you can't choose to love who you love."

But what the Dargers see as unwarranted government intrusion, others see as essential for the protection of women and children.

Marion Munn moved to Utah from Britain after converting to a fundamentalist Mormon faith, and says she was part of a polygamous relationship for 18 years.

"The only way that I can explain it is like living with adultery on a daily basis, and having the woman come home," Munn said.

"On top of that you have to smile and pretend that everything's okay because that's part of the culture too."

She now argues that such marriages are inherently unequal, and often aren't entered into freely.

"Certainly within Mormon-based polygamy, it's not really much of a choice, because Mormon scriptures teach a woman that if she doesn't consent to living in polygamy, God's going to destroy her," Munn explained.


"So for me going into it, I didn't personally want to live it, but I felt compelled to as a matter of faith."

While the practice may work for the Dargers, a 2011 University of British Columbia study found polygamy causes greater levels of crime, violence, poverty and gender inequality in communities that practice it.

The United Nations has called for a ban, while polygamy has been at the center of notorious cases such as that of Warren Jeffs, the fundamentalist Mormon leader sentenced to life in prison for child sexual assault in 2011.

The main branch of the Mormon faith -- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- renounced the practice of polygamy in the 1890s under pressure from the US government.

While some offshoots of the religion continue the practice, exact numbers are hard to come by. Some estimates say that around 40,000 Utah residents live in plural marriages.

Utah's Attorney General Sean Reyes has yet to say whether he will challenge the federal court ruling on polygamy.

The state is also currently fighting to enforce a ban on gay marriage, which was ruled illegal in December by another federal judge.(ChinaDaily)

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迫于美国政府施加的压力,摩门教主要分支——耶稣基督后期圣徒教会——早在19世纪90年代就不再要求信徒奉行一夫多妻制,但仍有部分其他分支继续坚持。据估计,在犹他州,大约有4万人生活在一夫多妻制的大家庭中,达格尔一家包括其中。

1990年,乔•达格尔与阿林娜和维姬结婚。十年之后,维姬的双胞胎姐妹瓦莱丽加入了这个家庭,当时她刚刚结束另一段一夫多妻的婚姻关系。

此后,乔和三位妻子公开生活在一起,并养育了25个孩子,目前还有17个跟他们住在同一个屋檐下。2011年,他们出版了一本名为《爱乘以三》(Love Times Three)的书,向外界讲述独特的一夫多妻家庭生活。

乔说,他们选择的这种生活方式,是其信仰的摩门教原教旨主义所赞同并推崇的。尽管如此,长久以来,乔还是担心自己会因违反犹他州的反一夫多妻制法律而被逮捕,“毕竟这是三级重罪、需入狱服刑,我的祖父曾经因此坐过牢,我真的感到害怕”。

然而去年12月,美国一位联邦法官裁定犹他州反一夫多妻制法律的核心内容违宪,即其中禁止“非法同居”的条款违背了宪法对公民宗教自由权的保护。此后,乔心中的恐惧感消失大半。

乔的妻子阿林娜是一名律师,她曾处理过多起涉及到一夫多妻制的案件。“联邦法官的裁决带来许多积极影响,(一夫多妻)合法化是其中之一。”阿林娜认为,从根本上说,这意味着法律支持“国家需远离人们的卧室”。

对于一夫多妻的生活模式,达格尔一家适应甚至乐在其中。但也有人持不同看法。信奉摩门教原教旨主义后,玛丽昂•芒恩离开英国、来到犹他州定居,她曾经保持过一段长达18年的一夫多妻婚姻关系。

“我只能说,一夫多妻感觉就像通奸,并且还需要与其他通奸者生活在一起。”芒恩现在意识到,一夫多妻的婚姻关系是不平等的,而且带有强迫性,“对于信奉摩门教原教旨主义的女性而言,一夫多妻不是一个选择,而是必须要做的事情。教义中写道,一旦违背,上帝就会摧毁她。”


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