What Is Bigamy And Why Do People Do It
What Is Bigamy?
Bigamy is the act of being married to more than one person at the same time, without the spouses knowing about each other. A bigamist is the person who commits this. Bigamy typically means being married to two people at the same time, but also refers to two or more. It is different from Polygamy, in which case the spouses know about each other.
Bigamy is a deceptive crime where a person goes through a legally binding marriage ceremony, whilst already being legally married to another. It isn't a common crime, but when it is highlighted in the news, it usually makes for interesting reading.
Baring in mind that you can go to prison for it, why would anyone commit bigamy? It's an interesting question in a day and age where getting divorced is rife. Seems you have to enjoy weddings an have a desire for more than one set of in-laws. Or be a compulsive liar.
The Bigamist With Five Husbands
Many may think that bigamists are only men, but this isn't the case. In the UK news recently has been the story of Emily Horne from the West Midlands, who over the course of 13 years married five different men, without divorcing any of them. Only the first wedding in 1996 was legal and all subsequent marriages were breaking the law.
Five ceremonies, five dresses, five rings, five sets of in-laws, five husbands. Emily Horne claims that she likes "making people happy". Horne got her parents to buy her first wedding dress when she was just twelve years old. It seems that the wedding obsession started early. The first and only legal marriage began in 1996 when she had just turned eighteen. The marriage to the guy she had met at school lasted just five months until she left him.
In 1999 Horne married a bank worker, and in 2000 a web designer. In 2002 she married a train guard. It was he who discovered her past and alerted police. Emily Horne was jailed for six months. You may think that a jail sentence would have deterred her from anymore weddings, or at least led to 4 divorces, but no. In 2007 Horne married again, but this time she confessed to her past as the couple were about to leave for their honeymoon.
This time Emily Horne was not jailed, but received a suspended prison sentence due to personality disorders. She is now said to be considering a vow of chastity and thinking of becoming a nun.
How did she get away with multiple weddings when you have provide identification in order to marry? Simple, she lied. She used different names on marriage certificates and changed her fathers occupation each time so she wouldn't be detected.
A Male Victim Of Bigamy
Reasons Why People Have Committed Bigamy
Bigamy is a strange crime to commit, though there has been examples of why people have chosen the route of bigamy instead of divorce and re-marriage:
- Some have claimed that divorce was too complicated after a marriage had broken down and so it was easier just to marry again rather than go through the divorce process and re-marry. This should be classed as lazy bigamy.
- Men have stated that they want to remain with their first wife and family, but instead of having a mistress, want a second wife and family, and spend time living two separate lives. Neither family are aware of the other. This has been found to work best if the man travels for his job to explain constant absences. This is just out and out I'm a bastard bigamy.
- Then there's the people who do it for the money and leave a trail of debt in their wake. No need to marry someone wealthy then get divorced, just marry a string of average earners and bleed them dry instead. Greedy bigamy.
- You of course then have the Emily Horne type of bigamy which is all about being an attention seeker and loving the whole idea of weddings and all that goes with them. Being a bride is intoxicating to these women. Wedding obsessed bigamy.
- My favourite excuse is the kind of bigamy where the person just forgot that they were married in the first place. Or they were drunk and have no recollection of ever getting wed. This should be termed convenient bigamy.
Though not a widespread crime, bigamy is no doubt a devastating experience for the people who are victims of it. It may sound trivial at first, that the crime is simply being married to more than one person at a time, but emotionally, for the people involved especially in an ongoing marriage, it must be hell to know that you have been betrayed like that. Betrayed by the person you love and consider to be your partner, and yours alone as your marriage vows state.
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