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A group marriage, also referred to as marriage co-op, plural marriages or group partnership, is a marriage of more than 2 partners. It appears to be a both morally and judicially accepted form of living together in the future of The Expanse.


At least two larger marriage co-ops are described in the books, the one of the family of James Holden Books • TV on Earth, and the one of Michio Pa Books • TV on her spaceship, the Connaught. But also on Mars, group marriages are quite common, as Alex Books • TV tells Basia Books • TV in Cibola Burn.[1]

There are several reasons why to form a marriage co-op. As Alex tells, on Mars many do it to not be left alone when one partner is away for months or even years serving on a military spaceship.[1] In the case of Holden's family, it was mostly an economic and also kind of revolutionary cause.[2] Economy might actually be a common reason especially on Earth, due to the overpopulation and the resulting laws and taxes about having children.[3] And last but not least, there is the very obvious reason of love, like it is the case in Michio Pa's polyamorous group.

Holden's family[]

S04E01-FamilyHolden 01

Holden's family in a video call to Naomi aboard the Rocinante

James Holden Books • TV is the genetic product of 8 persons, 5 men and 3 women.

Holden's parents were activists who fought for traditional land rights. They decided to form a group marriage so they could pool their land together to one big enough in size to maintain a farm that could feed them all. They all gave part of their DNA to genetically form their son and inheritor, James, who was then implanted to Elise Books • TV, who carried and gave birth to him because "she had the widest hips".[2] In that way, they leveraged the government's regulations about land ownership to their mutual advantage. Holden, as the genetic son of all of them, would be expected to inherit all their individual land together. Also, only the tax break for eight adults only having one child allowed them to own 22 acres (8.9 hectares) of decent farmland.[2]

Holden's family isn't a pure polyamorous group of lovers. It consists of a monogamous gay male couple (Tom Books • TV and Caesar Books • TV), a monogamous straight couple (Tamara and Dimitri), and a polyamorous group of two men and two women (Joseph, Anton, Sophie, and Elise Books • TV).[4]

Michio Pa's family[]

The group marriage of Michio Pa Books • TV consists of 7 individuals, 3 men and 4 women. The three husbands are Josep, Bertold, and Evans Garner-Choi, and the four wives are Pa herself, Nadia, Laura, and Oksana Busch. They form a polyamorous bisexual group of lovers and live and work together on their ship, the Connaught.[5]

They refer to her marriage as defined in a "ketubah", an originally traditional jewish prenuptial agreement also meaning "written thing".[5][6] Their group of lovers grew slowly, from three people in the beginning, to finally seven family members.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Anyway, while you’re out on a boat, your partner is back home, doin’ whatever they do. Lot of folks do plural marriages, group partnerships, things like that."
    -- Alex to Basia in Cibola Burn, Chapter 25: Basia
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The tax break for eight adults only having one child allowed them to own twenty-two acres of decent farmland. There are over thirty billion people on Earth. Twenty-two acres is a national park," Holden said. "Also, the DNA mix is legit. They aren't parents in name only."
    "How did they decide who carried you?"
    "Mother Elise had the widest hips."
    -- Holden to Lt. Lopez in Leviathan Wakes, Chapter 11: Holden
  3. "Eight parents to a baby ain’t exactly common," Amos said.
    "But it makes a lot of economic sense with the baby tax," Holden said. "So it’s not unheard of, either."
    -- Caliban's War, Chapter 13: Holden
  4. "I was thinking about my parents. They formed their initial collective partnership because of the farm. They were all friends, they wanted to buy the property in Montana, and so they made a group large enough to afford it. It wasn’t sexual. Father Tom and Father Caesar were already sexual partners and monogamous. Mother Tamara was single. Fathers Joseph and Anton and Mothers Elise and Sophie were already a polyamorous civil unit. Father Dimitri joined a month later when he started dating Tamara. They formed a civil union to own the property jointly. They wouldn’t have been able to afford it if they were all paying taxes for separate kids, so they had me as a group."
    -- Holden to his crew in Caliban's War, Chapter 39: Holden
  5. 5.0 5.1 "By the terms of their ketubah, the marriage group was seven people: her and Josep, Nadia, Bertold, Laura, Evans, and Oksana. They had all kept their own surnames, and they made the Connaught's permanent crew."
    -- Babylon's Ashes, Chapter 5: Pa
  6. Wikipedia "Ketubah" on Wikipedia
  7. "She was managing a supply warehouse complex on Rhea for a half-criminal labor union based out of Titan when Nadia and Bertold found her. It had taken six months before she’d realized that she was in love with them and four more before she understood what it meant that they loved her too. The day they first made a home together in a thin, inexpensive hole half a klick below the moon’s surface was one of the best she’d ever had.
    The others had come in their own way. Laura and Oksana together. And then Josep. Evans. Each new person folded into the marriage had felt like an expansion of her tribe. Her people."
    -- Babylon's Ashes, Chapter 11: Pa

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