Magazine April 16, 2012, Issue

Polygamy, Too

Kashmiri women during Eid al-Fitr, September 11, 2010 (Danish Ismail/Reuters)
Muslims have started seeking their own redefinition of marriage

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum got jeered for comparing the legalization of same-sex marriage to that of polygamy, but, whether or not the comparison is rationally sound, thoughts of the former’s facilitating the latter bring a smile to many Islamists. If the definition of marriage can evolve in terms of gender, some Muslims ask, why not in terms of number?

Islam sanctions polygamy — more specifically, polygyny — allowing Muslim men to keep up to four wives at once. Though marrying a second woman while remaining married to the first is prohibited across the Western world, including all 50 U.S. states, a

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