From Deustche Welle:
Between 150,000 and 400,000 people live in polygamous households in France, in which a man is married to more than one woman. The French state is trying to change the situation — with mixed results.
The government argues that living in polygamy prevents immigrants from becoming integrated into French society and that it goes against the principles of gender equality enshrined in the constitution. Polygamy was made illegal in France in 1993. Those who still live in polygamy have either been doing so since before the law was passed or they married abroad.
Though polygamy isn’t very common in the northern Paris suburb of Cergy, most people in the African community there seem to know at least one polygamous family, usually with roots in Mali.
“I’m against polygamy, even though I’m African,” explained Kofi Jumeau, who, along with his 43 brothers and sisters, could speak from first-hand experience. “My father had between nine and 11 wives. And unfortunately it really hurt us kids, because there was no family cohesion. It was really bad for us.”
The French authorities employ a strategy they call “de-cohabitation” to reduce the numbers of polygamous households. It involves social workers helping second and third wives move into separate apartments with their children, breaking up the polygamous arrangement.
[…] Parliamentarian Chantal Brunel has taken up the issue and would like the government to be more aggressive in dealing with it. “I think we have to send a strong message to other countries and to foreigners who live here and don’t respect the laws on our soil. Polygamy is completely illegal in France, and yet it exists.”
Brunel sponsored legislation last year calling for state tutors to manage the welfare benefits of polygamous families. Though the bill didn’t pass, she did manage to draw attention to the issue of polygamy and continued to lobby her colleagues for more action in tackling it. There’s now a growing sense that France’s current policy isn’t working, and that the country needs to take a tougher stance if it wants polygamy to become a thing of the past.
If we study the consequences of the polygamous weddings in France, we can distinguish between the ones which are made in France -not recognised but for some very limited effects- and the ones who are made outside France, who in general are recognised as valid, except when the man is married to a French woman. So the inmediate consequence is that they are promoting the polygamous weddings with foreign women who are not aware of their rights and normally do not even speak French.
It’s not very strange then the system is not working,