Welcome to our blog post on the legal status of polygamy in various Western countries. In today’s world, relationships come in all forms and sizes. While monogamy is still the most common relationship structure, there are Western countries where polygamy is legal. Join us as we explore the fascinating topic of multiple partners in love and discover which Western nations have embraced this alternative form of marriage.

United States: In the United States, polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. The practice of having multiple spouses is considered a criminal offense and can result in fines and imprisonment.

Canada: While Canada generally recognizes monogamous marriages, it does not legally recognize polygamous unions. Polygamy is a criminal offense under the Canadian Criminal Code, with penalties including imprisonment for up to five years.

Mexico: Although Mexico has historically had a complex relationship with polygamy due to cultural influences from indigenous communities, the country’s legal system strictly prohibits polygamy. It is considered a crime and punishable by law.

Netherlands: The Netherlands legalized same-sex marriage as early as 2001 but remains firm on its stance against polygamous marriages. Polygamy is not recognized or permitted under Dutch law, emphasizing equality within monogamous relationships.

Belgium: Belgium recognizes only monogamous marriages and does not legally permit or recognize any form of polygamist union. Engaging in or promoting such practices can lead to legal consequences under Belgian law.

Norway: Like many other Western countries, Norway explicitly prohibits polygamy by law. Regardless of cultural background or religious beliefs, Norwegian legislation emphasizes that marriage should be entered into between two individuals only.

Sweden: Sweden firmly adheres to the principle of gender equality within marital relationships and therefore prohibits polygamy. Polygamists face legal consequences if found practicing such unions within Swedish territory.

Germany: Germany follows a strict policy against recognizing or permitting any form of plural marriage. Polygamists are subject to prosecution under German laws that emphasize monogamous relationships as legally valid partnerships.

United States

Legal Status of Polygamy in Different States: In the United States, the legal status of polygamy varies from state to state. While it is illegal in all 50 states, some jurisdictions have stricter enforcement than others. The historical background and controversies surrounding polygamy laws have shaped this complex legal landscape.

Historical Background of Polygamy in the US: The practice of polygamy has a controversial history in the United States. It gained prominence among certain religious groups, particularly within communities associated with early Mormonism. However, societal shifts and changing attitudes towards marriage led to increased opposition and legal restrictions on polygamous unions.

Controversies Surrounding Polygamy Laws: The legality of polygamy continues to be a subject of controversy and debate in the United States. Critics argue that it can lead to exploitation, gender inequality, and abuse within relationships. Supporters often frame it as an issue of religious freedom or personal autonomy. Balancing these competing interests remains a challenge for lawmakers grappling with modern interpretations of marriage and family structures.

The blog post will provide more detailed information about these topics for legal professionals interested in exploring the legality of polygamy across different Western countries. Stay tuned for updates on other countries where this practice may be allowed!

What Countries Allow Polygamy In The Western World?

Hey there! If you’re wondering about the legality of polygamy in the Western world, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s delve into this intriguing topic and explore which countries actually allow polygamy.

In the Western world, polygamy is generally not recognized or legally permitted. Most countries have laws that explicitly prohibit it, and it is considered a criminal offense in many places. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule.


One country where polygamy is legal in certain circumstances is the Netherlands. The Dutch law allows for multiple marriages, but only if they were contracted abroad and are recognized as valid. However, it’s worth noting that polygamous marriages do not have any legal consequences in terms of inheritance rights or social security benefits.

England and Wales

Another place where polygamy is allowed is in the United Kingdom, but again, with certain limitations. In England and Wales, polygamous marriages conducted abroad are recognized if they were validly entered into under the law of the country where they took place. However, polygamy is not recognized if any of the parties involved were domiciled in the UK at the time of the marriage.

Moving over to the Americas, polygamy has a more complicated legal status. In the United States, it is generally considered illegal under federal law, but individual states have their own regulations. For example, Utah, which has a historical association with polygamy due to its early settlement by Mormons, has specific laws that make ita felony to practice or even purport to practice polygamy. Other states, such as Idaho and Arizona, also have laws criminalizing polygamy.


Polygamy and the Canadian criminal code have been a topic of interest in recent court cases. While polygamy is still illegal under section 293 of the Criminal Code, there have been several high-profile court cases related to this issue in Canada. These cases have fueled debates on whether polygamy should be legalized or decriminalized.

Public opinion regarding legalizing or decriminalizing polygamy remains divided in Canada. Some argue that consenting adults should have the right to enter into plural marriages, as long as all parties involved give informed consent. Others express concerns about potential harm and abuse within such relationships, particularly when it comes to gender equality and individual rights.

Western countries where polygamy is legal

So, as you can see, the majority of Western countries have laws that explicitly prohibit polygamy. While there are some exceptions, these countries generally have restrictions and limitations in place. The debate on the legality and morality of polygamy continues to be a complex and ongoing discussion in these countries.

Overall, the legality of polygamy in the Western world is a topic that sparks intense debate and raises important questions about individual rights, gender equality, and societal norms. As attitudes towards marriage and family structures continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the legal landscape surrounding polygamy may change in the future.


Traditional practices of multiple marriages in Mexico have a long history, with polygamy being prevalent among certain indigenous communities. While the legality of consensual unions and informal relationships varies across Western countries, Mexico does not legally recognize polygamy. However, individuals involved in polygamist relationships in Mexico face unique challenges such as societal stigmatization and lack of legal protection.


The Dutch approach towards plural marriage is progressive and inclusive. In the Netherlands, marriage and cohabitation laws allow for multiple partners, whether in the form of polygyny (one husband with multiple wives) or polyandry (one wife with multiple husbands). This legal recognition reflects a broader acceptance of diverse relationship structures in Dutch society.

Furthermore, the Netherlands also recognizes foreign marriages involving more than two people. Regardless of where these unions took place, as long as they are legally recognized within their respective countries, they will be acknowledged under Dutch law. This recognition demonstrates the Netherlands’ commitment to upholding individual rights and respecting cultural diversity when it comes to marital relationships.

Polygamy in western countries


Sweden has a progressive perspective on non-monogamous relationships, with its family law recognizing and protecting the rights of individuals in multi-partner families. Swedish courts have made rulings affirming the legitimacy of these unions, providing legal recognition and protection for polygamy and other forms of non-traditional relationships. However, individuals seeking acceptance for their plural unions still face cultural challenges due to societal norms.


In Germany, constitutional freedom clashes with social restrictions in the context of polygamy. While the country upholds individual rights and freedoms, there are societal norms and cultural expectations that frown upon multiple partners in marriage. This tension creates a complex legal landscape surrounding polygamy.

One key distinction is between religiously motivated communities and secular groups practicing group marriages. Religious communities may argue for their right to practice polygyny or even polyandry based on their beliefs, while secular groups advocate for consensual non-monogamous relationships without any religious underpinnings.

To understand present-day legality, it is crucial to consider historical examples that have shaped Germany’s perspective on polygamy. Unlike some countries in West Africa or Afghanistan where traditional practices have influenced current laws regarding multiple spouses, Germany has been largely influenced by its Western counterparts when determining the legality of such arrangements.


In conclusion, the legality of polygamy varies across Western countries, with each nation having its own unique approach. While Norway leans towards individual autonomy and allows individuals to structure their relationships as they see fit, the lack of specific laws addressing polyamory can lead to challenges in accessing certain benefits or inheritance rights. Sweden, on the other hand, has a progressive perspective and recognizes and protects the rights of individuals in multi-partner families through its family law. However, cultural challenges still exist due to societal norms. Historical examples have shaped Germany’s perspective on polygamy, with Western influences playing a significant role. Overall, the legal landscape surrounding polygamy in Western countries is complex and subject to cultural, societal, and historical factors.

Considering your interest, we have another amazing article on European Countries where Polygamy is Legal. Click here and unlock the mysteries of love.