Bigamy (in Civil Jurisprudence)

(Fr. bigamie, from Lat. bis, twice, and Gr. gamos, marriage)

Bigamy, in civil jurisprudence, and especially in criminal law, is a "formal entering into of a marriage while a former one remains un-dissolved" (Bishop, Commentaries on the Law of Statutory Crimes § 577), "the crime of having two wives or husbands at once" (Murray, New Dict., s.v.) or "two or more wives or husbands" (Century Dict., s.v.). Bigamy, being "a species of polygamy" (Stephen, New commentaries, IV, 83), may be designated by the latter word (Bishop, op. cit.); for Sir Edward Coke defines "polygamus" to be one "qui duas vel plures duxit uxores" (3d Instit., XXVII). But its very general use in English statutes and authorities renders bigamy in many instances the word of more ready reference (Russell, a Treatise on Crimes, 659).

Bigamy as defined is classed by jurists among those acts injurious to public morality by which the State or community generally is injured, and which may therefore properly be made criminal. The crime consists, according to french law (Carpentier, Codes et lois; code pénal, 340, note) "in the fact of the celebration of the second marriage before dissolution of the first", or, to quote an American authority, in "the prostitution of a solemn ceremony which the law allows to be applied only to a legitimate union", involving "an outrage on public decency and morals" and "a public scandal" (Bishop, op. cit.). And so Boswell quotes Dr. Samuel Johnson, commenting on Luther's allowing the Landgrave of Hesse two wives with the consent of the wife to whom he was first married, thus: "There was no harm in this, so far as she was only concerned, because volenti non fit injuria. But, it was an offence against the general order of society, and against the law of the Gospel, by which one man and one woman are to be united."

Ok basically what there saying is that you can't marry somebody if you are already married. Now I know this is the law in my country and probably yours. I think this is a stupid law. In Australia if a couple live together as man and wife for a period of time, I think it is 90 Days or more then according to the Government of this country they are considered married. This is referred to as a defacto marriage and it happens all the time. The thing about it is that you can be legally married to somebody and go and live with somebody else and you end up in a defacto marriage. There doesn't seem to be any law against this. i.e. The Government are say you can only be married to one person at a time however if you go and live with another as man and women then the government declare your married.