Yeah, but the point of the matter is, since polygamy is illegal in America (it has been illegal since 1878), the second wife is not legally recognized as the man's wife by the state, and therefore this wife has no rights in the eyes of the state. So, if her husband were to be abusive (God forbid),for example, then she cannot seek the state for protection since she is not legally recognized as his wife.
Furthermore, all 50 states have laws against polygamy, and the states vary as to how they characterize it (whether as a felony, misdemeanor, etc). http://usmarriagelaw...amy/index.shtml
Therefore, the punishment for polygamy varies from state to state, depending on how the state characterizes it as. For example, in California, this is the punishment is as follows: "Bigamy is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison."
So, a man is disobeying the law of the land and can be punished if he were to have a 2nd wife. And this second wife does not have equal rights as the first wife (in fact, she has zero rights), and therefore equality does not exist between the two wives, and doesn't Islam mandate that in polygamy, all the wives need to be on an equal footing?
And, yes, unfortunately, America is not against spouses having affairs, etc. But that's a separate matter. I'm only talking about this act of polygamy in America, and whether we can consider it a haram act since it is not legally recognized by the state.
Plus, as Muslims, aren't we supposed to law-abiding citizens (Ayatullah Seestani touches on this idea that we must obey the law of the land in the introduction of his work "A Code of Practice For Muslims in the West: http://www.al-islam....uslims-in-west/
)? And since polygamy is not a wajib act, then one should not engage in it, in a land that prohibits it, right?
Let me know where you think my reasoning may be flawed because I'm just thinking this through and don't know what the correct answer is (if there is even a correct answer-- there very well can be different interpretations).