'Sister Wives' Describe Bright Side of Polygamy

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In 2004, "Primetime's" John Quinones interviewed 17 women from Centennial Park, Ariz., who are in what they call "plural" marriages. All said their plural marriages work for them.

In their households, they live with one husband and anywhere from two to a dozen or more women they call "sister wives."

"And for us, it works 'cause we love it. We want it to work," said a woman named Susan.

The women are teachers, nurses, businesswomen. They are modern, savvy -- and if you ask them -- liberated.

Linda Earl lives in a multimillion-dollar, 30,000-square-foot mansion. She says there's plenty of room for more than one wife and many, many children.

"I'm pretty independent," Earl said. "I don't want to have to dote on a guy every night. I don't want to make sure that he has a meal every night. Let somebody else do it that likes it."

The kitchen is the size of a cafeteria. After all, there are dozens of mouths to feed in Earl's home -- from newborns to teenagers.

Thirteen-year-old Derek said he doesn't know how many brothers and sisters he has. "Nobody really knows, 'cause we don't count the numbers," he said.

They say they don't keep track of how many children live here because they are afraid the authorities might charge them with polygamy and break up their families. That's why there's only one "official" wife -- at least in the eyes of the law. The other marriages are only religious.

Not 'Mr. Hefner'

Another polygamous wife, Ann, said the sister wives get along well. "They're your sisters. You work together. You genuinely care about each other," she said.

But with so many women and only one man -- isn't there a lot of jealousy to deal with?

"Jealousy doesn't matter when it comes to a situation where he has committed to that woman also," said Sarah, an 18-year-old newlywed. "The woman who has been her husband's sexual partner has breakfast with her the next morning, she knows where her husband has been, she knows the children that come from this union, she loves the children; she loves that woman."

The man of the house is a wealthy businessman who did not want to be identified because it could cause him legal and financial difficulties.

"Let's just say I believe that multiple relationships are superior to single relationships," he said. "It's more compatible to the needs of the man; it's more compatible to the needs of the ladies."

He wouldn't discuss numbers, but a relative said that the man has as many as 15 wives and perhaps 75 children.

This polygamous husband also said the relationships are "serious and committed" -- his love life is not one big sex party.

"I think you're confusing me with Mr. Hefner down in Los Angeles," he said. "There are much cheaper ways to have sex than to maintain a plural household."

And he added that plural relationships aren't just self-serving for the man.

"It requires an enormous amount of effort to maintain any relationship -- try maintaining two relationships, or three relationships. It requires substantial effort," he said. "It would be easier to lie, cheat and steal, like you guys do."

He also said he doesn't know why the outside world views polygamy with such disdain. "It's possibly just the difference. I have a certain amount of disgust for monogamy, and total disgust for bachelorhood," he said.

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