Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poly in Vancouver

Peter Tupper reported on an event in Canada called “What is Polyamory?”

The majority of them were already practicing, or at least familiar with, polyamory, the practice of consensual non-monogamy, including relationship styles ranging from open marriage to swinging to multi-partner marriage to group families.

Presented by the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA), the evening's panel included Janet W. Hardy, co-author of The Ethical Slut, a book often cited as the bible of polyamory; Seattle's Terisa Greenan, creator of the Family web video series; John Ince, legal counsel for the CPAA and co-owner of the Art of Loving adult store; and Kiki Christie from Victoria's Poly101 discussion group.

This was in reaction to the Canadian poly trial…

What brought them together was a reference case currently in the B.C. Supreme Court, which concerns Section 293 of the Criminal Code, a rarely enforced law prohibiting polygamy. While the government wants to use this to control the Mormon polygamists (polygynists, technically: one husband, multiple wives) of Bountiful, B.C., polyamory advocates says they fear this law could be used to persecute people who have egalitarian, consensual non-monogamous relationships.

Laws against kidnapping, domestic violence, and child abuse should be applied to prevent those crimes, and it will be easier to do so if witnesses and victims aren’t made to be criminals for their adult marital relationships.

“The law, as it currently stands, is very broadly worded. It prohibits all multi-party marriages and marriage-like relationships, and that includes polygyny, polyandry, polyamory, same-sex multi-party conjugal unions, and it does so even if there is consent," she adds. "In fact, the statute goes even further than that, because it criminalizes anyone who celebrates or assists in a ceremony that relates to these relationships.”

“Polyamory really is the new gay. We, the polyamory community, are now really where the gay community was in the [19]60s," says Ince, director and legal counsel of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association and a polyamorist himself. "They were facing a law that had been enacted a hundred years before. They decided it wasn’t acceptable anymore to live in the closet, they started to create community. This is exactly what is happening with the polyamory community in the 21st century."

Poly people should be thankful for the way paved by monogamous LGBT people who stood up, and heterosexual poly people should, in turn, continue to stand up for LGBT rights, as monogmists should stand up for the rights of poly people. An adult should be free to pursue love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adults.
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