Suppose a man married 10 wives, has kids with each, then decides to divorce all 10 and start over. The 10 wives no longer want to live together, they each want their own place. Can the man afford the alimony to support 10 households, plus his own new one? What is the law here?
Suppose a man has 10 wives, he's in his 50's and he dies unexpectedly. Can all 10 wives collect Social Security, although only the one man paid in? Would the man have to pay a much higher social security tax during the years of his employment to cover that possibility. Or would we all have to pay higher social security premiums to cover payments to all the surviving polygamist wives out there?
Of course we are already paying for the polygamist households through welfare:
CNN.com - Anderson Cooper 360° BlogYou may or may not agree with polygamist Warren Jeffs' lifestyle, and you may or may not think he is indeed the dangerous criminal the FBI says he is, but would you believe Jeffs and his followers are costing you money?
"Their religious belief is that they'll bleed the beast, meaning the government," said Mark Shurtleff, Utah's attorney general. "They hate the government, so they'll bleed it for everything they can through welfare, tax evasion and fraud."
It makes some sense. Polygamists have multiple wives and dozens of children, but the state only recognizes one marriage. That leaves the rest of the wives to claim themselves as single moms with armies of children to support. Doing that means they can apply for welfare, which they do. And it's all legal.
"More than 65 percent of the people are on welfare ... compared with 6 percent of the people of the general population," Shurtleff said.
Regarding incest and possible marriage within the family, there are legitimate health concerns.
The state may not need to be involved in setting marriages up, if we also don't expect it to be involved in the end of marriage. However, all marriages end, either from divorce or death. Nobody is going to vote that they don't want the state involved in ending marriage, therefore the state gets a say in how marriages begin.