(SevenDays, Vermont) In her decades of researching polygamy, Janet Bennion, a professor of anthropology and sociology at Lyndon State College, recalls three times she was “courted” by married women. One wrote her “love letters.” Another took her to a restaurant “to determine whether I was wifely material,” Bennion writes in her new book, Polygamy in Primetime.

These women were devout members of fundamentalist Mormon sects, not swingers. Like many examples in Bennion’s illuminating study, they defy the popular perception that the practice of men taking multiple wives is solely about the male libido.

Liberal Vermonters have cheered on the progress of marriage rights this election season. But what would we say to a woman who sought to unite herself in matrimony to a man and another woman?

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