Originally Posted by Tonberry
But since marriage to more than one person isn't allowed in most western cultures, I think using that term for marriage-like relationships as well makes a lot of sense. After all, even what's commonly thought of as polygamy isn't legal polygamy.
That's why the anti-polygamy laws in Canada are so contentious for org's like the CPAA. While the gov may not recognize or allow multiple conjugal unions legally, it doesn't prevent defacto unions from being made anyways, if by a non-recognized ceremony or by something more resembling common law marriage.
Either way, the key distinction between polygamy and polyamory at a basic level will be that polygamy is dealing in multiple spouses, regardless of legality, recognitions, or cause.
While some polyamorists may be interested in and even enter into marriage type situations, the scope of polyamory is more broadly focused on the ethical conduct of multiple relationships. A lot of polyamorist relationships have no resemblance to marriage.
At the same time, as can be seen in some of they testimony around the reference case in BC, polygamy doesn't always resemble ethical either.
Polyamory and polygamy have subsets that intersect, but neither is directly related to the other. They're close cousins, not entirely unlike poly & swinging, or ham and jam (Both can be great in Sandwiches, but there's many other options too).