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Monday, February 28, 2011

Billy Bush Tells Phillips To Stay in the Closet

Mackenzie Phillips was promoting her book on the syndicated television show Access Hollywood. Phillips has been essentially bullied into reframing her sexual relationship with her father as nonconsensual. Billy Bush doesn’t want to talk about consanguineous sex at all.

"Can this thing not be dealt with privately?" asked Bush. "To all the people who don't want to see it on TV, why can't it be dealt with on the couch?"

"So many people who are survivors of incest feel alone. There's no one for them to look to and go, 'Hey, if she can talk about this, I can talk about it. I can help effect a change,'" Phillips responded.

Bush remains undeterred, however, and says incest is a topic he doesn't even want to discuss. "I told my executive producer I don't want to do this," he said. "I think it should be a private thing and I don't book the show."

It would have been nice if they would get someone who asks the obvious questions: “What is wrong with adults having consensual sex? Why should only some consensual sex be discussed on TV but not all?”

From another interview Mackenzie Phillips had with Parent Dish

PD: Before writing the book, you say you never considered yourself a victim of incest, that you saw yourself as a willing partner.

MP: I write in the added chapter about how I had never gone into the inner workings of the mind of the survivor and using the word "consensual." And I realized, with help from people like Dr. Drew, that I had been led to believe by my father that it was consensual since I wasn't fighting him off. So, therefore I was complicit and I took that on as my reality and beat myself up.

The trouble with this is that someone could say this about any sexual relationship, with a family member of not. If they later convince themselves (or let others convince them) that it was a bad idea, should it be considered rape? Phillip's father, by various accounts, was abusive in various ways, but I'm not sure adult sex falls into that category. And yet, that is where the focus is put.
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A Polyamorous Mother Explains

Nathan J. Comp presents a great interview with Kimberly Stenerson about polyamory. It begins with her explaining that being poly is part of who she is.

“I think I was always poly,” she says, referring to polyamory. “It’s like when people ask, ‘When did you know you were gay?’ It’s the same as knowing you’re monogamous and heterosexual. You just always knew.”

She cautions that, more than a lifestyle, polyamory is a state of being, and therefore isn’t for everybody. “It’s not just sex with other people,” stresses Stenerson, who lives in Spring Green with her daughters and partners. “It’s also love, trust and communication, like you’d have in any relationship.”

She explains what she sees as the difference between the kind of poly that lends itself to polyfidelity, and open marriages.

Well, an open marriage tends to be sexually oriented. So you can swing. Sometimes they have arrangements where there’s certain level of sexual activity involved and other things that are not. Like, some people talk about doing a full swap, where you and another couple might get together and mess around but end up with your significant other. So it’s more sexually oriented, but not in a bad way. It’s very good for the marriage, for the folks that like it.

Poly is more emotional. You have multiple people that you love. Like, when a man and a woman are married, and he happens to be bi, and he has a lover and so it’s like a V – that’s an easy way to imagine it. Those people are committed to more than one person. So, my husband and I may have a girl, and she may or may not live with us, and – in swing it’s called playing, but in poly it’s more serious. So he and she would spend time together, she and I would spend time together, he and I would spend time together, and the three of us would spend time together.

Poly is not cheating…

Well, I don’t commit adultery, even when I’m poly. Adultery is cheating and cheating is lying. So I don’t lie. If I’m committed to you, and I’m committed to Sam, and I’m committed to Josie, and maybe Josie’s your wife and Sam is my husband, so we’re all committed, we have an understanding the same as monogamous families have. If you step outside of that understanding you commit adultery. For me, the definition of adultery is to betray one’s vow or promise.

She talks about misperceptions some others may have about poly people...

The biggest misperception that monogamous men have about poly women is that they’re hoes, that because your poly you must swing and you swing, therefore you must fuck everybody. They see it as they don’t have to be nice to you. Woman tend to see poly women as sort of betraying any feminine achievements we’ve had over the last 40 years, because if you’re one girl amongst many, you must not have any self-respect, you must be unable to get your own man, and if your one girl amongst many men, then you’re a hoe or have been abused or have a sexual issue or have low self-esteem.

It’s a great interview. Go read the whole thing. Poly people should be free to be ourselves and, if we so desire, to get married to the people we love.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

There's More to Polygamy Than Polygyny

Once again, the two terms are equated, this time in articles about the leader of Chechnya. Polygyny means one husband, multiple wives. Polyandry means one wife, multiple husbands. Then there is group marriage, meaning three or more men, or three or more women, or multiple women and multiple men. All of these are polygamy.

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, fully supports the idea of polygamy and says he is looking for a beautiful woman to become his second wife, according to a media report.

This appears to be a Muslim thing...

"If there is love, it's ok to have four wives... If you can build a home, keep your wives in the same conditions, not infringe their rights, then Sharia (Islamic law) allows a man to have four wives," he said.

"It is much fairer than keeping one or two mistresses while your children starve at home," he added.

We support full marriage equality, which means any form of polygamy with consenting adults should be legal.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Cheers for UMDNJ For Considering LGBT, Poly Needs

A paper from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford urges physicians to examine their practice from the perspective of LGBT and polyamorous patients. Making things more comfortable for these patients will make it more likely they will get the treatments they need. The paper appears in the currently issue of The Health Care Manager.

“LGBT patients can disproportionately experience social and behavioral risk factors that can affect health,” said lead author Dr. Joshua Coren, a family physician at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. “When evaluating these risk factors, physicians need to ask questions nonjudgmentally to avoid causing their LGBT patients to feel scrutinized or even stigmatized.”

Among the authors’ recommendations are changing background information forms by expanding gender identification and relationship preference categories, noting that when only two options are available transgendered patients may struggle to identify their gender or bisexual patients may not be able to accurately describe their polyamorous relationship with men and women. Other recommendations include instructing clerical staff on the use of gender-neutral terminology, training clinical staff on surgical modification procedures, providing at least one unisex bathroom and making LGBT publications available in the waiting room. Physicians should also become knowledgeable about community-based resources, such as LGBT-specific cancer support groups or mental health practitioners.

It is good for the larger community if poly people and LGBT people are getting the health care they need.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Inadequate News Item on Incest

Here's another "incest" news report that is severely lacking in details.

A 51-year-old man who admits committing incest with his half-sister, will be sentenced on Monday.

The accused man who cannot be named, is being sentenced today at the Central Criminal Court after pleading guilty to a 6-year period of abuse.

When did this happen? It is very easy for a 51-year-old (or, 45 or 44 six years ago) to have a half-sister who is an adult; not so likely his half sister was a minor any time recently. So, was this a case of child abuse decades ago? Rape? Or consensual sex between adults? We don't know, because all three of those would be called "incest" in the news and by law enforcement. But only the first two should be crimes. If it was either of the first two, he should be locked up for a long time. If it was the third one, he shouldn't have even been arrested.
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Ratting Out Lovers For Violating Unjust Incest Laws

What causes someone to try to prevent others from having their relationships? Jealousy? Revenge? General hate?

Someone found this blog by searching for how to contact police about incest marriages.

Why would someone rat others out to the police? If people are living as spouses, they should be encouraged and celebrated, unless there is domestic violence. I'm not talking about BDSM or anything else consensual. But if you're a witness to domestic violence, call the police about that. Don't call the police because you are bothered by other people being happy together.

It is bad enough that close relatives don't have the freedom to marry. It is even worse that there are still laws in some places against consensual sex between close relatives. Incest laws should only exist as parts of laws against child abuse and statutory rape. It is worse still that law enforcement will use laws against consensual sex to prosecute and imprison people. But worst of all is that a civilian would use those realities to rat someone else out.

Support the rights of adults to love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adults.
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Polyamory Supported at Dear Cupid

A female from the UK in her late twenties wrote at Dear Cupid in support of polyamory.

Cheating - carrying on a romantic or sexual relationship behind the partner's back - is still a contentious issue and if discovered, the cheater will likely suffer social rejection and the loss of the relationship.

This is probably a good thing.

Agreed.

But what about openly having more than one partner at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all parties? There is a posh word for this and it's 'polyamory' - literally 'many loves'. Ask most people you meet what they think of it and they'll immediately reject it as 'cheating'. Except that it's not. Done properly, polyamory is a mutually respectful way of life. It can ease the pressure to be everything to one person. And, of course, there is a lot of fun to be had.

There sure is!

But does it work in practice? Well, it can - I myself was part of a triad relationship for a while - but the only way it can work long-term is when all parties can genuinely throw off the conditioning that says monogamy is the One True God of how to conduct your love life.

If monogamy is right for someone, good for them. If polyamory is right for someone, good for them. To each his or her own. The problem comes in when someone who is strongly polyamorous in their nature tries to force monogamy on themselves, often to avoid prejudice. It isn’t fair to anyone involved. Likewise, someone who is strongly monogamous in their nature and needs the same in a partner should not try to go along with polyamory, because that would not be fair to anyone involved. A big problem right now is that monogamists are fully free to be monogamists (at least, as long as it isn’t a same-sex relationship). In most of the world, this isn’t true for polyamorists.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Legal Movement Towards Full Marriage Equality

The Pursuit of Harpyness has praise for what sounds like an important book by Martha C Nussbaum, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law. The book and the review both support full marriage equality and the review cites the need for solidarity.

The reviewer notes that people who are disturbed by a given sexual activity should not continue to think about it (presumably, if they are unlikely to get over their disgust).

Yet this doesn’t seem possible for some folks, who insist that the mere possibility of someone doing a sexual act that they think is “gross” violates them personally - and somehow contaminates our shared civic culture and public spaces in some ineffable way. Because of this feeling of threat and contamination, they try - and often succeed, particularly here in the United States - in passing laws which circumscribe the sexual rights of certain segments of the population.

They become sex police.

Nussbaum’s brief volume takes us on a whirlwind tour of the history of constitutional law as it relates to human sexuality, with a particular focus on the rights of gay and lesbian Americans - though the implications of her argument can be generalized out to consider the sexual practices of all citizens. Nussbaum’s goal is to sketch out the historic rationale for laws grounded in disgust and show that these arguments are extremely weak as a basis for denying certain groups fundamental and constitutionally-protected rights (such as the right to engage in consensual sexual activities with the partners of their choice, the right to marry, and the right to engage in commercial sexual activities).

Sounds like a great read. The review goes on to talk about the long tradition in the US of recognizing that it is respect for persons that has compelled everything from religious tolerance onward.

From this basis of understanding concerning the Constitutional right to equal protection for individual liberty, Nussbaum argues that we can - and must, Constitutionally-speaking - protect the right of people to do things (consensually and privately … and in some cases, publicly) which we find morally abhorrent and physically disgusting.

Like I’ve said before, if you don’t want to marry someone, you don’t have to. But if someone else wants to, they should be allowed. The review then calls out those who throw others under the bus instead of expressing solidarity….

One thing I particularly appreciated about From Disgust to Humanity is Nussbaum’s willingness to discuss, however briefly, the legality of sexually-intimate relationships (and even marriages) that go beyond the two-consenting-adults model. All too often, proponents of same-sex marriage seek to distance themselves from associations with the legalization of other non-normative relationships. Yet Nussbaum points out that the legal arguments separating out two-person unions from other types of unions are “extremely weak.”

The book doesn’t leave out the consanguineous lovers, either.

”Regulations on incestuous unions have also typically been thought to be reasonable exercises of state power, although, here again, the state interests have been defined very vaguely. The interest in preventing child abuse would justify a ban on most cases of parent-child incest, but it’s unclear that there is any strong state interest that should block adult brothers and sisters from marrying. (The health risk involved is not greater than in many cases where marriage is permitted.)”

Adults should be allowed to marry each other, even if one of them is a parent to the other. Back to the solidarity thing by the reviewer…

I realize there are strategic reasons for the marriage equality folks to emphasize that gay and lesbian couples aren’t attempting to radically alter marriage in scary, unknown ways - the argument that anti-gay marriage folks routinely make. Yet every time I hear the “of course same-sex marriage won’t lead to polygamy!” argument I wince because of the poly relationships I know that just got kicked to the curb by queer folks who, you would think!, would be natural allies. And while I know incest seems, to the majority of people, a physically repulsive concept, Nussbaum is right in arguing that disgust alone is not a justifiable reason to outlaw a behavior that does not do demonstrable harm.

Adults should be allowed to exercise their rights to love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adult, even if someone finds it disgusting. Participation is voluntary.

And to those ends, there is breaking news that US President Obama is letting DOMA (Denial of Marriage Act) die, which will allow the federal government to recognize the marriages of some same-sex couples. Based in part on that, lawyers have asked a court to lift its hold on the a lower court's Prop H8 verdict to allow (some) same-sex couples to marry in California. Congratulations to all same-sex couples who will benefit from today's move by Obama. It would be great if same-sex triads could also marry, or two sisters. But we will get there.
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Borat’s Home Country Needs Mothers, Says Politician

Looks like some politicians want more polygyny in hopes of making mothers out of more women and boosting population, and keeping women from what the politicians see as a problem: being single.

Amantay Asilbek is bringing a little colour to the Central Asian republic's depressingly predictable poll with his traditional Kazakh dress, eccentric antics and colourful views.

"In Kazakhstan, there are a lot of single women, and it is a national tragedy, because we lose potential mothers," Mr Asilbek said in an interview with Adam, a local magazine. "I think polygamy would solve this problem."

I do not support having polygyny as the only form of polygamy. Any adult, man or woman, should have their right to marry any consenting adult(s). I also support the rights of all to be unmarried, and to be childless. But I do expect politicians are often going to encourage parenting for the sake of generating at least a replacement level of citizen population, in most countries at least.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Despite Mackenzie Phillips, Some Sex Between Family Consensual

Mackenzie Phillips appeared on The Today Show, and talked about reaction to her book.

A year and a half after she released a memoir revealing she was the victim of incest at the hands of her singer father, Mackenzie Phillips is still dealing with the fallout - a decided chill from family members, a psyche still bruised over criticism about her confession.

She may have been a victim of bad parenting, but what she really a victim of incest? She was and adult when, according to her, she and her father had a ten year affair that ended only because she got pregnant.

Perhaps less surprising was the family reaction to Phillips’ publicly airing her incest story. While Phillips told Vieira she has received waves of support from other incest victims and has unwavering support from her mother Susan Adams, other parts of her extended family are now lost to her. Her brother Jeff and celebrity stepsisters Chynna and Bijou Phillips no longer speak to her, while her stepmother, actress and former Mamas & the Papas singer Michelle Phillips, has repeatedly lambasted her incest story.

Much of this has to do with prejudice towards consanguineous sex between adults.

In her memoir, Phillips writes that what began as incest under pressure from her father eventually became consensual, but she has since learned through counseling and from other incest survivors that “there is no such thing as consensual incest.”

Yes, there is such a thing. It is when adults, be they siblings, parent-child, or some other close relations have sex with each other without any kind of coercion or incapacitation that prevents them from expressing their rejection. I suspect she wasn’t prepared for the amount of bigotry there still is, and thus is accepting the line that it couldn’t have been consensual.

Based on what Phillips says about her father and her own childhood, I would say there was a lot going on that was wrong, such as substance abuse. I am against grooming; I think parents should raise their children to be independent adults who truly make their own choices about whether or not to even stay in contact with the family at all. (If you’re a good parent, you’re not going to lose contact with your child permanently because, sooner or later, the child will realize you were a good parent, unless something is horribly wrong with the child.) But she only speaks of “grooming” now, not when she first wrote the book. Surely she’d been through enough therapy before writing the book that if she had been groomed, she would have said so originally.

I do believe it is rape when someone is unconscious. I don’t believe it is rape when that adult, when conscious, voluntary returns over and over again to engage in sex.

The only two people who could know for sure what went on between Phillips and her father are those two. Both were frequently stoned at the time and he’s dead. So none of us knows for sure what really went on. But I do know that there are adults who do have consensual sex with family members, whether on a recreational level or a spousal level. I have seen it myself.

Clearly, Phillips has been through much. I hope she is well and stays well. But I also hope that people reject the idea that close family members aren’t able to have consensual sex, because there are many people out there who know differently, and the prejudice against how they are living their lives is keeping them marginalized.

People often cite a power differential as to why such relationships should not be considered consensual. It is argument #20. Where does the power differential end when it comes to parent-child? Is it different between father-daughter, mother-son, mother-daughter, and father-son? What if the parent is 50 years old and the child 33? What if the parent is 70 and the child 53? What if the child was raised by someone else? Why not just let consenting adults do what they want when it comes to sex?
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Misportrayal of Polyamory

Yen Wong may need to learn more about polyamory, based on what I see in "Fancy A Three-Way Relationship?"

Nope, it's not those secret affair your boyfriend hides. Visualise this: sharing your partner with another woman and three of you live in harmony? Sounds like a stretch but it's happening amongst your friends. Are you up for it?

Many people are. Not everyone. Here comes the bigotry...

There are really such dumb people around us.

It is "dumb" to have a relationship that meets the needs of all involved?

I'm sorry to make such a sweeping statement but a love relationship is defined as one that is shared between two special individuals, not a fun-loving trio or more.

And that definition is found... where? If that is the way you want to live, fine. But it is rather prejudiced to declare others to be less intelligent because they do not share that with you.

In reality, there are women committing to relationships that are so haywired— their partners have more than one girlfriend. To make it worse, three of them are well aware of the situation. Sometimes they even engage in sexual activities. Freaky isn't it.

Did I see a turnip truck drive away from this writer?

It all started with someone getting caught. Many polyamorous relationships are a continuation of a flawed monogamous one.

"Many," perhaps. But most polyamorous relationships do not start out with such cheating.

The first type is what they called primary and secondary partnership. The primary partner is consider the priority in the relationship while the secondary partner, as the name suggest, is just secondary. The other type, polyfidelity, is to have three or more individuals involved with one another but they have to stay committed to those within the relationship.

Uh, no. These are not mutually exclusive. There are people who practice polyfidelity AND have primary and secondary designations.

Amidst the hefty work and family commitments, a monogamous relationship is hard to juggle sometimes, let alone one more woman. Are we prepared to welcome this new member in the equation?

If you're not, then nobody will make you. You can stick to the relationship you want. But allow other adults to make their own choices. Some people find that the best relationship for them is a polyamorous one, and everyone involved can be happy. Where is the problem?
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Attacking a Faith and the Women Who Follow It

Someone has written and posted "Selective Amnesia Regarding Adult Consent in Polygamy: What We Must Forget in Order To Justify Legal Inaction or Decriminalization"

The writer claims...

Below is a list of things which have to be denied or forgotten in order to believe that polygamy is a free choice for adult women, and that it takes place among consenting adults, is a victimless crime and is therefore not a crime.

The person's entire case seems to be built on attacking certain FLDS communities or communities with a belief system like the FLDS. The argument is that the women can't be giving their free consent, because they believe the teachings and the authorities of certain people and texts. This kind of attack is an attack on the belief systems and practices of certain people within those communities and is hardly a justification for denying the freedom to marry to poly people, most of whom are not part of those communities.

This attack also tries to make a case that these women don't have the freedom of religion, or the freedom to leave. So what about the women who have exercised those freedoms and left? The writer treats adult women as though they are somehow incapable of thinking.

This kind of attack can be dangerous. One could argue that any person part of any organized religion can't really consent to anything that the religion or religious leader(s) promote. Maybe baptism of adults should be illegal?

Bashing these specific polygynists does not change the fact that adults should have full marriage equality.
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Still Waiting For a Good Reason Not to Legalize Polygamy

The question posed was "Should polygamy be legalized in the United States?"

This blog is here to support the rights of adults to love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adult(s). That includes the polygamous freedom to marry. So I was disappointed when the several responses I found were all anti-equality.

...

I do not agree with being married to more than one person at a time.

Well then, you don't have to do it. But let others have that choice.

You should only be married to one person at a time.

Give the world a good reason.

Having more than one spouse (usually more than one wife) is not fair to the women in the relationship, I feel.

Why not let the women make that decision?

...

I oppose polygamy because it seems to have a negative effect on children of these families.

Bad parenting and prejudice against the family are what have negative effects on children, not polygamy. How many serial killers and mass murderers in the US  have you heard about coming from polygamous families?

I have watched a couple of documentaries on television that show the behind the scenes life of these families. As I watch these shows all I can see is how the kids seem to have a hard time explaining why their families are the way they are.

This is a good reason for a public education campaign. I've seen documentaries and read statements about how horrible people, including children, have had it is supposedly monogamous homes. Does that mean monogamy should be outlawed?

...

I oppose the notion of polygamy being legalized because it is morally wrong.

It is morally wrong to let adults have the kind of marriage they want?

...

The Bible teaches that one man and woman should live together for their lifetime.

If that is what you believe the Bible teaches, you are free to live that way. But other people, including other people who cite the Bible, believe differently. Shouldn't they have their freedom?

What happened to commitment to one person for the rest of your life?

That's a notion that someone came up with somewhere along the way. It certainly wasn't standard all along, especially if the Bible is to be believed. But that is a good question to pose to all of the supposed monogamists who aren't really monogamous because they go from relationship to relationship, have affairs, etc.

...

No, because polygamy would be a logistical nightmare in many aspects, including taxes and health care.

Sorry. That has been refuted. That's refuted argument #11.

So, there really isn't a good reason to deny this freedom to marry.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Iowa Man Arrested For Incest, Note to Journalists

This coverage in the Sioux City Journal is all too typical of criminal charges for incest.

A Spencer man faces seven counts of incest for allegedly performing a sex act with a relative, authorities say.

Seven counts of incest for one sex act? Was the game Twister involved?

“A relative.” They don’t identify the man, so why can’t they say who this relative is to him?

The Clay County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the man, 47, had sexual contact with a relative from May 2009 to March 2010.

That’s a long time for one sex act. I thought we were supposed to call a doctor if an erection lasts more than four hours.

The man is 47. If the relative is a daughter, she could easily be an adult. She could be 31 years old, for all we know. Or she could be a sister or niece and be even closer in age to him.

The man also fathered a child with the victim, the statement alleged.

No details given about the child. That leads me to believe that the child is healthy.

Incest is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

I have a huge problem with that...

1) If we’re talking rape, which is what must be involved if this was a nonconsensual, which to me is automatic if we’re talking about am minor, then five years is not nearly enough time. The guy should be charged with rape and do hard time for a long time.

2) If we’re talking about consensual sex between adults, the woman is not a victim, and this shouldn’t even be a crime. They should be allowed to marry, if that is what they want, and raise their child. Instead, the family is getting torn apart by “sex police” laws.

If this is a matter of consensual sex, it is outrageous that this is happening, and it is terrible that this kind of coverage perpetuates the problem.

ATTENTION JOURNALISTS…

Sex between close relatives is still illegal in many jurisdictions, and as such, law enforcement or courts may not make a distinction in their press releases between child rape by a relative, child molestation by a relative, statutory rape by a relative, rape/sexual assault of an adult by a relative… and sex between relatives who are minors but close in age and sex between adults who are relatives. The term “incest” may be used to describe all of those, but there is an obvious difference between the first set of crimes and the last two situations. There’s a clear difference between, say, a father molesting his 10-year-old daughter and a couple of adults who are living as husband and wife or were caught by someone else having recreational sex.

Please provide enough details in your reports to make a distinction. Do not settle for terse statements from courts or law enforcement that do not provide a distinction. Although all incestuous activity may be illegal depending on the jurisdiction, consensual sex between adults should not be a crime and should not be lumped together with child abuse or rape.

I prefer using the phrase “consanguineous sex” to make the distinction, but could journalists please at least use the terms “incestuous rape” or “incestuous assault” and “consensual incest” to make the distinction? Yes, it may seem silly to report that someone has been arrested for consensual sex, but that’s exactly the point. Nobody should be arrested for consensual sex in the first place.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Overcoming Prejudice

Many heterosexual men have a double-standard when it comes to same-sex relationships. This subset of heterosexual men dislikes the idea of sex between men. Not only do they not want to experience it themselves, they don’t want to see it or may be averse to even seeing other men naked. They don’t want to even think about it. But these particular men enjoy seeing two (or more) women having sex and would, if they could, place themselves within such a situation (as the long male). If these men appreciate the beauty of Sapphic love, they should support the rights of women to marry each other. If these men can be persuaded that two women should have the freedom to marry, it shouldn’t be hard to persuade them that two men should have the freedom to marry, too.

Likewise, someone who might have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of consanguineous sex as, “Incest! Yuck!” might be thinking of child abuse by a father or stepfather, or even consensual sex between a father and adult daughter. Yet there are probably people who have this reaction who have a fantasy about having sex with two sisters at the same time, or a mother and daughter. But the sisters and the mother-daughter situations would most likely involve consanguineous sex (incest); it at least involves them being close to each other naked in a sexual situation. If the person likes the idea of two sisters or a mother and daughter having a joint sexual encounter, how can they object to other close family members having such encounters, with or without an unrelated person? And if they should be allowed to have sex, shouldn’t they be allowed to marry?

Another common fantasy and reality is the casual threesome between unrelated people, with or without two of the people being in a committed relationship. Shouldn’t people who’ve done this or who want to do something like this support the polygamous freedom to marry, so that people who want a life together rather than a casual sexual experience can build that life together?

Get people to question their prejudices. They just might end up supporting full marriage equality as part of an overall support for the rights of adults to love, sex, and marriage with any other consenting adults.
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Some Australian GLTBIs Throw Poly People Under the Bus

According to this report, several people who should know better refused to stand up to bigots, instead throwing poly people under the bus.

Victorian Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown delivered his maiden speech in State Parliament last Wednesday, breaking ground as the first Liberal MP to voice support for same-sex nuptials in the new Legislative Assembly.

Newton-Brown said same-sex marriage had no connection with polygamy.

"It is a ridiculous assertion to link same-sex marriage with polygamy. The issue should be debated without resort to peripheral issues which have no direct relevance."

Here's the issue: recognizing marriages formed by consenting adults. It would be good to see Australians get the same-sex freedom to marry. It would be best if every adult is able to marry any consenting adult(s).

Federal Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has already tabled an equal marriage private members bill in parliament, said the ACL was muddying the waters in the marriage debate.

“The intention of my bill is clear for all to see – it specifically refers to marriage as being ‘a union between two people… to the exclusion of all others’.

“The suggestion from the Australian Christian Lobby that marriage equality for same-sex couples will somehow open the floodgates for polygamous relationships is ludicrous.”

No, it is just showing that they are bigoted towards more than just same-sex couples. But I expect that from them. What I would hope for from the likes of Hanson-Young is some solidarity and some guts. Why the two-person limit?

Melbourne-based GLBTI activist Rod Swift believes marriage should only be reserved for two people in a consensual relationship.

Why? Why deny poly people their rights? And does Swift really mean "two people" or does he mean "two people who are not closely related?" Does he throw consanguineous couples under the bus, too, or just poly people (including GLTBI poly people)?

ACL Victorian director Rob Ward weighed into the debate, citing a controversial court case in Canada – a nation which has already legalised same-sex marriage.

“In Canada there’s been a case before the courts suggesting the link between same-sex marriages and polygamous relationships.

“The basic issue is if you’re going to change marriage, then what are you opening it up to?"

It was nice to see a responding comment from "Old guy"...

Another day, another country. Yet again we have "gay activists" throwing people under the bus to argue for SSM.

As a polyamorous person, I find it pretty annoying.

I've been supporting SSM for about, oh, what, 30, 35 years now? Not because it's ever been personal for me; same-sex sex is a rare sideline for me, and same-sex marriage has never been a prospect. No, I supported it because it was right. Because people ought to be able to commit to those they love, and society ought to support that.

It'd be one thing to say "society's not ready for that". But that's not what we get. We get people screaming that the same basic fairness arguments that apply for GLB people just plain don't apply for polys. "It's about two people!". Apparently justice and the number two are united to the exclusion of all others. And apparently it doesn't matter if you trash somebody else, as long as you get what you want.

The people who started that strategy knew what they were doing. They knew they were abandoning comrades. They decided not to care. And now most of the movement seems to have brainwashed itself so much that it actually believes there's no parallel.

People who presume to speak for the gay community have shown themselves willing to abandon their fellows. Not just polyamorists in general, but the strong polyamorous thread in traditional gay culture. They've done it just as they've been so happy to "sanitize" anything else in the culture their movement grew from of that might scare the "mainstream".

Very well said!

I want to take this moment to once again thank all of the LGBT people who aren't polyamorous who DO show solidarity. And, thanks to the poly people (like "Old guy") who have shown solidarity for the same-sex freedom to marry. We need FULL marriage equality.

UPDATE: Rod Swift clarifies his statements.
— — —

Looking For Solidarity

From Illinois' Jacksonville Journal Courier comes this quote from their Open Line...

“Perhaps bigotry is just deeply ingrained in the hardwiring of humans. In talking to some people who favor same-sex marriage, I learned that they actually oppose polygamy and group marriages. It’s utterly astounding that those who have been so recently victimized turn around and victimize others.”

I would clarify that this is only true about some supporters of the same-sex freedom to marry, not all; probably a minority. There is much solidarity. But we have seen this before in previous civil rights battles, this attitude of indifference of hostility towards others who are also seeking their rights. We should all stand up for each other so that we all have the freedom to marry.
— — —

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mackenzie Phillips’ Siblings Feared Prejudice?

From a blurb in the New York Post

The "One Day at a Time" star wasn't prepared for her family's hostile reaction after revealing on Oprah that she had a long sexual entanglement with her father, The Mamas & The Papas frontman John Phillips, she claims in a new chapter in the paperback version of her shocking memoir, "High on Arrival."

Brother and sister Jeffrey and Bijou Phillips cut all ties with Mackenzie after her shattering revelations, despite knowing about the incest for years.

So their problem was with their sister going public with the news. This could be due to the fact that there is so much hate thrown at those who have consanguineous sex. I doubt the siblings would have been so concerned if there wasn’t so much prejudice. Adults should be allowed their choice of consenting sexual partners. My concern is for anyone to whome either of them had vows that would be violated. If she had such vows with her husband, for example, that is where the objection should be; cheating.
— — —

Solidarity for the Polygamous Freedom to Marry

At Escapist Magazine, someone named ironphoenix started off a lengthy discussions with

Logically, if you accept that homosexual marriage is ok (and I assume the majority of The Escapist agrees here) then using the same logic that allowed homosexual marriage, polygamy should also be fine.Yes? No? Maybe?

If the criteria for supporting the same-sex freedom to marriage is “consenting adults should be allowed the marriages they choose,” then yes, the same logic supports the polygamous freedom to marriage, as well as the consanguineous freeom to marriage; essentially, full marriage equality. However, as we know, there isn’t nearly as much solidarity on this issue as we’d like. There are LGBT people, whether in same-sex relationships or not, and heterosexual supporters of the same-sex freedom to marry, who denounce any polyamory, or specifically polygamy. Likewise, you can find polygamists who do not support the same-sex freedom to marry. Not all polygamists even support all forms of polygamy. For example, there are polygynists who would denounce group marriages or polyandry, or even polygynist males with more than four wives.

See, for example, the first response by Seanchaidh…

No. There is no necessary connection between the two. There are principles that justify homosexual marriage that do not justify polygamy and vice versa.

Yes, but if the principle is “consenting adults,” then there is a connection.

ravensheart18 responded to Seanchaidh…

Of course there is a connection. The whole argument in favor of same sex marriage is that the government has no business telling consenting adults who they should have sex with, fall in love with, or marry. Once you have establised that very valid concept, it clearly opens the door to three or more consenting adults doing as they wish.

ravensheart18 explains why he is asking…

Right now it is perfectly legal in most of the world to have a husband or wife, and as many boyfriends/girlfriends as you like.

Sadly however you can never provide that gf/bf with the security of marriage. Oh sure, you can set up cohabitation agreements to provide some protection for those long term additional partners, but it is never the same in law as the "legal wife/husband" and thus they are permanent second class citizens. They may not, for example, be recognized as next of kin in the hospital. This second class citizen problem was one of the arguments in favor of legalizing same sex marriage. Long term partners deserve recognition and protection from the law.

My first experience with a poly arrangement lasted for a bit under a year. My gf was really wonderful, she and my wife got along well, and things had potential.

It ended because my gf, who initially said she didn't want to ever marry anyone anyway, told me that our relationship made me realize that she did want to marry and that there were guys out there worth spending a lifetime with. However, since under the law we couldn't have that...

It's stupid. Here we had three happy people and because of prejudice we couldn't move the relationship forward.

That is sad, and just one example of how a lack of equality harms.

Evilthecat gets more detailed…

My research topic is non-monogamous behaviour in an LGBT context, so this is kind of my turf.

To be very crude about this. There is a link, and it's one I think LGBT people should be proud of and celebrate. Gay and lesbian relationships are much more likely than heterosexual ones to be non-monogamous or open in some sense, and to continue to be so until much later in life. Similarly, relationships are much more likely to function within a pragmatic, friendly context rather than being governed by a concept of exclusive romantic love between two people. This openness regarding intimacy (the 'family of choice', 'liquid love' etc.) is in my opinion the biggest contribution of the LGBT lifestyle to society as a whole.

Later, Evilthecat clarifies…

What I really mean is that there are certain LGBT groups and people, particularly in the early gay liberation movement and later critiques of heteronormativity, who have very much put forward a critique of the normative structure of intimacy through marriage and monogamy, and that this has been very influential in developing new modes of intimacy (like polyamory). I think it would be a shame to play down the 'queer' role in that, or the fact that pioneers of these kind of concepts and lifestyles have generally been LGBT.

The arguments against the polygamous freedom to marry were of the sort I have refuted here.

It was heartening to see so many allies and so much solidarity, including from…
— — —

Man Charged With Incest in West Virginia

This is another example of a story covering an incest prosecution that doesn’t have enough details.

A Boone County man was in Boone County Circuit Court Friday morning charged with assaults that are alleged to have taken place between 1974 and 1976.

Denzil McCormick, 54, McCormick was taken to Southwestern Regional Jail on Dec. 6, 2010.

So he was, I’m assuming, 18 years of age rather than 17 when these incidents of which he’s being accused were alleged to have started?

His charges include two counts of crimes against nature, two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of third-degree sexual assault and four counts of incest.

Are we talking about a total of ten different assaults, or are we talking about four assaults? If we’re talking about four assaults, it seems to me the counts of “crimes against nature” and “incest” are likely superfluous. It is not possible for someone to commit an incestuous assault without either raping, sexually assaulting, or molesting someone, all of which should be illegal and severely punished whether not they are committed by a relative.

I’d also like to know that this isn’t actually a matter of consensual sex with, say, a sibling who is close in age. On the other hand, if this was a matter of the defendant sexually assaulting or molesting a significantly younger sibling, niece, or nephew, then I’d like to know what in the world took so long to bring charges?

Here's another article with even less information about a different case.

We need better reporting on these matters so that consensual sex is not lumped together with rape, assault, or molestation. It does matter.
— — —

Man Charged With Incest in Ghana

This article says he is accused of impregnating his 18-year-old daughter. The article does not give any indication that this wasn’t consensual, nor does make it clear if there she was under 18 when the sexual interaction began last year.

The victim lived with her grandmother at Akyem Kwabeng where she completed her junior High School education in 2008.

The prosecutor said during the same year she joined her father (accused) in Accra. Some where in March 2010, the accused, who was single, started having sex with the victim and as a result she got pregnant.

In July, 2010, the prosecutor said accused gave the victim to his neighbour (a woman) to help the victim abort the pregnancy.

The prosecutor said after the abortion, the accused continued to have sex with the victim until she became pregnant again in December 2010. She said neighbours who knew of the accused person's relationship with his daughter became fed up and hinted the Police who in turn rescued the victim and arrested the accused.

So apparently she did not complain; she could have, presumably, gone back to live with her grandmother, or gone to live on her own. It was the neighbors who were upset. Assuming this was consensual sex, I wonder if everyone else approves of the complaining neighbors’ sex lives?

Again, it would be good to get more detailed reporting on these matters to draw a clear distinction between abuse and consensual sex. The latter should not be a crime. It does matter, because lumping consensual sex between adults in with child abuse perpetuates prejudice.
— — —

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spanish Movies With Relevant Themes

If you’re still looking for a movie rental for Valentine’s Day, here’s a list claiming to be the “10 Best Spanish Erotic Movies.” I will point out the ones of interest to the topics of this blog.

1. “Amigo/Amado.”A homosexual professor is in love with his best student in this Spanish movie. It’s an intense and sexual Spanish movie that will have you at the edge of your seat.

Same-sex relationships are still criminal in some places in the world, and there is still the struggle for the freedom to marry someone of the same sex in many places were the relationships aren't criminal.

5. “Broken Embraces.”Pedro Almódovar makes it big again in this movie that was nominated for two “Best Foreign Language Film” awards at the Golden Globes and with the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The story is an erotic portrayal of various forbidden romances.

6. “Belle Époque.”The setting of this erotic tale is the build up to the Spanish Civil War. A young soldier who deserts the army has sex with three sisters one-by-one, but soon realizes that it’s the fourth sister that may be the most marriage-worthy.

7. “Against the Wind.”This movie is a blend of erotic scenes involving incest, passion, and obsession. Juan escapes to the Spanish province of Andalusia, but his sister can’t live without him.

Sibling sexual relationships are illegal in many places, and the freedom to marry is even more scarce than for non-sibling same-sex relationships.

Some other films on the list may be of interest, but I wouldn’t know from the descriptions.

I remind my readers that today, Valentine’s Day, you should remember that there are people who still don’t have the freedom to marry, including loving partners living as spouses but banned from marriage under the law because they are same-sex, or close relatives, or more than two people.
— — —

Peter Singer Defends Consanguineous Sex

In his native Australia, Princeton Professor Peter Singer defended sex between close relatives (“incest”). Michael Cook was less than pleased, as he wrote here.
The Jerry Springer of modern philosophy was in good form when he addressed a packed crowd on Wednesday evening in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney.

Singer is an Ivy league Professor. He deserves some respect, not an apparent dig like likening him to Jerry Springer.
Most philosophers count themselves lucky if their mother appreciates their work. But Singer is regarded - by journalists, at least - as the most influential living philosopher. In fact, at Sydney Uni, he was introduced with the fulsome praise normally reserved for superannuated television stars: “If we had a collection of national living treasures, Peter would certainly stand tall amongst them.”

This means he can advance the freedom of closely related consenting adults to love, sex, and marriage.
Imagine a brother and sister, he said. They are on a summer holiday and decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried making love. There’s no chance of offspring because she is using the pill and he a condom. It brings them closer, but they never do it again.

Is this wrong?

Of course it isn’t wrong. This happens much more than some people realize. And there are lasting, spousal relationships as well. These people are your neighbors, you coworkers, and quite possibly your family.
Singer then took show of hands and found that half of his listeners thought that loving, contraceptive incest was cool – which makes one-child families sound like a good idea for the next generation of Sydney Uni graduates, doesn’t it?

Why? The writer doesn’t give a single reason why the position is wrong, yet advocates, however jokingly, taking away the reproductive rights of those who hold it.
The other half thought that even ideal incest was wrong.

If they thought about it for more time, a lot of them would change their minds. Their objections have probably been answered here.
Look, he explained, our instinctive revulsion at incest is merely an evolved response which protected human communities against inbreeding.

Actually, I think it probably had more to do with a desire to form bonds between clans, rather than avoiding inbreeding. Men would give their daughters to another clan like she was some sort of property. And not everybody should be included in "our," as some people have no revulsion against consanguineous sex.
But such intuitions are not authentically moral reaction because they lack a rational justification. They are evidence of our bondage to obsolete emotions. These conferred a survival advantage when we lived as hunter-gatherers, but not necessarily in the 21st Century.

That’s a good way of looking at it.

I remind my readers that today, Valentine’s Day, you should remember that there are people who still don’t have the freedom to marry, including loving couples living as spouses but banned from marriage under the law because they are close relatives.
— — —

DNA Revealing Evidence of Incest

The medical journal Lancet reports that genetic researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston are finding that some of the DNA from children they analyze shows evidence that the children were conceived by close relatives, and this is raising ethical issues about patient privacy laws and mandatory reporting laws.

Julie Steenhuysen reported for Reuters

New gene-based tests that map out a person's entire genetic code can help explain why a child has birth defects or developmental delays, but they are also exposing some dark family secrets.

There’s a difference between rape… and fun or loving sex between consenting adults or teen experimentation. I wouldn’t call the later two “dark.” As you can see from reading my blog, I believe sex between consenting adults, as long as they aren’t breaking existing vows to others, is a good thing, and should not be a criminal matter.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recently started using such tests and have uncovered several cases of likely incest, says Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chairman of molecular and human genetics at Baylor, who wrote about the problem on Thursday in the journal Lancet.

Rape is a problem. It is a problem regardless of whether it is incestuous or not.

The tests, called single nucleotide polymorphism-based arrays, allow doctors to scan a child's genome for extra or missing copies of genes that could explain their disability.

But they can also show large, identical chunks of DNA that a child might have inherited from two closely related relatives, such as a father and daughter, raising social and legal issues that institutions and the scientific community must address, Beaudet said in a telephone interview.

"The concern mainly stems from the possibility of children being sexually abused in the home, most often girls between 12 and 16 years of age," he said.

So it is okay if she is sexually abused by a non-relative? Of course not. If she is a minor, she isn’t legally able to consent to sex in the first place. Note that looking for biological evidence of incest wouldn’t uncover abuse by unrelated stepfathers or stepbrothers or adopted brothers or adoptive fathers. Focus on fighting child abuse and rape. Don’t lump consensual adult sex with abuse.

Disabilities are frequent in children born of incestuous liaisons.

Slightly more frequent than the general population.

U.S. doctors are legally and ethically bound to disclose cases of suspected child abuse to authorities.

Again, if she is a minor, she isn’t legally able to consent to sex in the first place, so if a report would be made in the case of pregnancy by a close relative, shouldn’t it be made if there is any pregnancy in the first place? However, unless there was coercion, drugging, force, or something of that nature, if it was with someone close to her age and she claims it was consensual, that should be the end of the matter as far as criminal law is concerned, in my opinion.

Nancy Spinner, a professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said her team had encountered two cases of incest since it began using SNP-based arrays from gene sequencing company Illumina Inc in May 2008.

So out of all of the screenings to determine the genetic cause of disabilities (4,500, it turns out) only two were from close relatives. That means all of those other children with disabilities came from people who were not close relatives. DNA tests before conception of the child could have given an indication that this was a possibility.

Here’s an Associated Press version.

Scientists conducting DNA tests on disabled children may inadvertently make startling discoveries of incest, sparking a range of ethical dilemmas that require guidance, doctors say.

Startling? It is really startling? Starting that some adults abuse children? Or startling that people who are close to each other and love each other may have sex?

I remind my readers that today, Valentine’s Day, you should remember that there are people who still don’t have the freedom to marry, including loving couples living as spouses but banned from marriage under the law because they are close relatives.
— — —

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Introductory Article on Polyamory

Julie Eng talks with Dan Davidson and some poly people in California, and tries to explain all of the standard introductory information about polyamory that people who still haven’t heard the term might want to know.

In recent years these numbers have received significant media attention — notably, Newsweek described polyamory as “the next sexual revolution.” Poly books such as “The Ethical Slut,” by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, have achieved mainstream success, bringing new faces to poly community groups in large cities throughout the country. As polls show younger generations growing more accepting of all lifestyles and non-hetero-normative relationships are in and out of federal courtrooms, polyamory is becoming more high-profile.

It’s going to get bigger. A lot bigger.

The poly community has received some negative attention. Conservative groups like Focus on the Family have publicly denounced polyamory as immoral, and a threat to the current federal marriage laws. A pamphlet released by the Family Research Council describes a polyamorous home as “a frat house with revolving doors.”

Most polyamorous situations are much more serious than that, with many people practicing long-term polifidelity. But wether someone practices polyfidelity with two spouses for life, or they are simply nonmonogamous (which includes much more than polyamory) and do have a revolving door of sexual partners, it is nobody else’s business and it shouldn’t be illegal.

Publications on the Family Research Council website warn that “the rising polyamorous culture is out to get your children.”

Most poly people, if they want children, have made or will be making their own, thank you. There are poly people who will be happy to adopt children who were made by those “monogamous” people who can’t care for them.

Stigmas like this drive many poly people to keep their relationships relatively private.

Stigmas like that shouldn’t be around anymore. Let consenting adults have their own love and marital lives without trying to tell them what to do and what not to do.

The roots of polyamory, originally referred to as “responsible” or “ethical” non-monogamy, can be traced back to the 19th century.

It can probably be traced back further than monogamy.

It’s a long article. It might be helpful to send to someone who wants to know more about polyamory. And the more people who do know, the better, because it will most us that much faster towards the polygamous freedom to marry.
— — —

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentines’s Day

Monday is Valentine’s Day. This weekend and Monday, many people will be getting married. Married people will be celebrating their anniversaries, or simply having a night out, as will other people hoping to get married someday, or maybe just enjoying being together in public.

If you are in such a situation, good for you and enjoy it.

Whether you are or not, take a moment to think about all of the people who can’t marry the person or person(s) they love, or can’t so much as hold hands in public without being accosted. Think about the people, consenting adults, who have to completely hide their relationships because they could be sent to prison for simply having sex in private. Think about the people who have to hide who they are because, where they live, they could be killed for being who they are. Think about the people who can’t accept gifts from their their lover(s) at work, or even a loving comment on their Facebook wall, because it would out them and get them fired.

This is what goes on because some people are being denied their rights to sex, love, and marriage. A woman can’t marry the woman she loves in most states in the US. She can in Canada and some other countries, but most countries still deny this freedom to marry. Hopefully, the US will change that as national policy soon. In most of the world, a man can’t marry both the women he loves, despite both women being in favor of such a marriage. Hopefully, that will change in Canada soon, and many other places after that. People like Liz and Ryan can find very few countries that would recognize their marriage, and we need full marriage equality before people like Linda, Melissa, and Matthew can tie the knot.

So enjoy Valentine’s Day if you are able, but think for a moment about the people who will only be able to fully enjoy theirs when we have full marriage equality.
— — —

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Half Siblings Can Marry in Sweden

emmashore asked, “I've heard that half siblings are allowed to marry in sweden, provided they receive 'special approval'. Is this true???”

According to this map, yes. This law is better than in most places, but any consenting adult should be able to marry any other consenting adult and special approval should not be needed, unless everyone who gets married has to get special approval.

Swinglish...

Both [cousins, half siblings] are just weird....I should think any right minded person would agree.

emmashore…

LOL I totally agree, wasn't asking for personal reasons.. was asking out of disgust and shock.

Isn’t that cute? They can be friends and hate other people together.

Carl T …

I also note that the ban on sex/marriage between close relatives appears to mostly be based on the notion that it's disgusting. If it were based on the risk of birth defects, I would also expect there to be a blanket ban on sex for those with serious heritable diseases and old but pre-menopause women, or a ban on reproduction but not on sex and marriage, or at the very least the laws would be based on biological and not legal relatedness (though since 2004 there is a possibility for adopted whole siblings to be allowed to marry, with no mention of whether they could then legally have sex).

Correction to the above: I found a comment to the relevant law, which clarifies that only biological whole siblings can be guilty of "samlag med syskon" (intercourse with sibling).

He makes a point. We don’t have equality under the law if a reason used to deny marriage equality isn’t applied to other cases to also deny freedoms.

Jamtjim…

So, my thought is this: If we accept in a modern liberal society that two consenting adults can do whatever they want sexually so long as it doesn't hurt any third party, then is it right to have a law which prohibits genetic siblings from having sex with each other?

No, it isn’t.

Now I realise that peoples first thought may be of disgust, personally I find the notion of inter-sibling sex morally and ethically wrong, but then law should not be based on subjective morality. Some people regard homosexual acts as wrong morally, but yet society has learned to accept this as like I said before, if it is consensual, and nobody gets hurt then this is accepted. Similarly, certain people believe that all sex outside of marriage is ethically wrong. Again modern societies to do not uphold laws which forbid this either.

Right. Disapprove all you want, but don’t force your disapproval on the lives of others.

CathySky…

I think people who do this suffer from low self esteem or some other mental health issue.

And she bases this on…? The people I know are healthy, happy, well-adjusted people.

Shibumi…

Although incest is a universal taboo, this taboo is universally violated.

Yes. Nobody does it. Except that it happens all over the world. Let’s drop the charade.

As for the legal aspects, I think that there are already laws on the books that deal with the control, domination and abuse aspects often involved in incest cases. These should be enforced. If there is a victim, the victim should be protected and defended by society and the victimizer should be stopped and punished. As for the (I believe) much rarer cases where two completely consenting and able-minded adults who are closely related, wish to behave as a couple, I don't think a law is needed.

Not just couples.

If societal pressure does not prove to be enough to keep them apart, they are not actually harming anyone and the government/state/law representing "we the people" should not enter their bedroom. We can still think it is wrong and pass personal judgment on them and frown and shun them… within the limits of the law of course… but not everything most of us agree is "wrong" should be legislated.

Thank you!

Jamtjim…

Is it fair to discriminate against people in a non-abusive relationship simply because there are a larger number of abusive ones? It it fair to deny these people the right to engage in a totally consensual relationship solely because of the actions of other people?

No!

Is this not against the principles of a free liberal society?

Yes, it is.

Time and time again, we see that arguments against this freedom to marry are nothing more than personal distaste, not reasoned policy.
— — —

Mackenzie Phillips Book Update

Mackenzie Phillips has a paperback edition of her book hitting stores soon, with updates, including her family’s reaction to her writing and speaking of having a sexual relationship with her father.

It would be interesting for an objective party to go through how the delivery of her message has changed in response to media reaction.

I’m not privy to the specific dynamics of her relationship with her father, but in general, a woman should be able to write and talk about having a consensual sexual relationship with her father (or mother, sister, brother, etc.) without being trashed or told she’s mistaken about her consent or feelings about it, and without the deceased person being trashed.
— — —

Honesty Draws a Nonmonogamist to Polyamory

This blogger writes about discovering she is polyamorous.

But another part of it was knowing that deep down, I probably would never be totally satisfied with just one person. I am capable of having an intimate connection with one person--a relationship--but I also was able to recognize that I have needs that can't be met by one person because well, they are just one person. And quite simply that people in general are pretty awesome and sometimes you just want to spend time with them--not necessarily in a sexual manner. I was raised to believe that monogamy was the way of life for all humans and that anyone who strayed outside of that was quite simply a cheater and the scum of the earth.

More people would be polyamorous and happy if they hadn’t been told all of their lives that monogamy was the only acceptable way.

Right around Thanksgiving, I started doing some exploring on open relationships and polyamory. It was something that always fascinated me--mainly because I really envied the security that these women felt. They are so secure in their relationship with their primary partner that the actions that they both have outside of each other doesn't take away from their primary relationship--and if anything, it makes is stronger. The open and honest forum that is provided was something that I craved. And the trust. But more than anything, the security. I couldn't imagine a world where I was so secure in myself.

If she finds what she’s looking for, then good for her.
— — —

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Supporter of Limited Polygyny

This writer appears to equate polygamy with polygyny.

Feminists stand strongly against it, supported by issues on gender equality, human rights and many more.

Some feminists support the freedom to polygamous marriage. Polygamy is more than patriarchal polygyny. There’s also group marriage (including same-sex) and polyandry. Furthermore, it is entirely possible for strong women to choose to share a husband, and thus choose polygyny. Some feminists rightly see denial of this freedom to marry as restricting a woman’s right to choose her marriage partners.

My concern is over the fact that in Islam a man can have more than one wife (sister wives) up to four wives on condition that he can treat his wives wisely.

Why is this concerning?

If God permits conditionally (in Islam), why do humans (just small creatures of God) try to stand against polygamy?

There are many Muslims in the world, but the majority of people in the world are not Muslims. Legally, full marriage equality should allow any adult their right to marry any consenting adult(s) they choose. Regardless of religion. Some people oppose adding any new freedom to marry into law because they want to control the lives of others. There are also some people who would support increasing the freedom to marry but would oppose full marriage equality; they have a lack of solidarity. For example, there are Muslims who would want the law to allow a man to have four wives, but would oppose allowing a man to have more than four, or oppose letting a man marry another man. With full marriage equality, a Muslim man (or any man) could marry four consenting women, but his neighbor would have also have the freedon to marry two men.
— — —

Bountiful Youth Provided Good Education

Contrary to antiequality-based attacks on Bountiful that are getting much press due to the Canadian poly trial, it turns out the education is good there.

But the bigots can’t handle the truth, so they attack the report.

The NDP were quick to seize on the Bountiful result to argue that the ratings, which have long been controversial, are not useful.

``Bountiful Elementary (Secondary) School sharing the top spot in this year's report - a finding that is at odds with information that has recently been provided in the (Supreme Court) - illustrates the problems with the methodology the Institute uses, and with the overall report,'' said a statement from NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix.

Not true…

Peter Cowley of the Fraser Institute said the report's rankings are based only on the results of children taking the tests.

``This is a reasonable test of the curriculum expectations that the ministry set for these three subject areas in these two grades. You get the measure and let the chips fall where they may,'' said Cowley.

Cowley said Bountiful's position at the elementary grade was based on its academic performance, and not on its popularity.

This was also covered here.
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New Hampshire Needs to Move Forward, Not Backward

Christine Montgomery of Chesterfield expressed support for the freedom to same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

Equality matters to me - and, specifically, the marriage equality recently enacted in New Hampshire.

It’s not quite full marriage equality yet. Not until all adults can marry the consenting adult(s) of their choice, regardless of relation.

I cannot be silent as I read of the current GOP legislators’ plan to repeal the marriage rights of our gay and lesbian citizens.

Good. We need to go forward to full marriage equality, not take a step back to take away a freedom to marry.

I believe that, regardless of sexual orientation, most couples have similar values around marriage. In fact, let’s focus on similarities rather than differences.

Not just couples, either.

Generally, we marry a person for whom we share deep affection/love. We marry the person we want to build and share a life with. We marry because we want our relationship recognized as a legitimate entity by all.

Marriage is how we define the depth of our relationship. Legally, marriage provides protection and financial benefits for couples and families.

Married couples create homes in their community, nurture friendships within their communities, provide stability within their community and beyond. Many married couples provide the foundation for families.

Not just couples, either. Poly families do, too. Let’s support full marriage equality for all. Writing a letter to the editor is one way.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Discredited, Invalid Arguments Against Full Marriage Equality

I have a added a page with the common arguments against marriage equality, and my responses. Almost always, bigots trying to justify their prejudice in denying full marriage equality use these arguments that have already been discredited, invalidated, and do not stand up in court.

Please feel free to cite this page and the argument number when dealing with those who want to deny full marriage equality. I plan to do that to save myself a lot of time.

If I have missed something, please tell me.
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A Good Question

Stefan1991 asked “Why is Incest illegal in the UK?” He cites a mother and father of four children. This couple story of this is well known to people who follow news about consanguineous sex, as they were both jailed for loving each other as they are brother and sister.

Who has the right to say that a consensual relationship is wrong?

Glen_Nichols gave the standard, ignorant reply…

The kids will be mutants.

As has been pointed out many times before, most sex does not result in births, most children born to consanguineous parents are healthy, and, finally, we do not deny people their reproductive rights based on the likelihood of their offspring having birth defects or inherited diseases.

Lewroll had a strong reaction, but was unable to provide a logical argument to keep consanguineous sex criminalized…

Ok, thats it, I've had enough. This has gone too far!!

This attitude of let two consenting adults do whatever they want is fine...up to a point.

Incest is sick, and if it ever becomes legal....just the thought of it makes me want to be sick.

Then don’t do it. Don’t want such a relationship? Don’t have one.

How would you feel if your brother and sister came home one day and told you they had been having sex?

I’m happy for any consenting adults who have found love, or at least a good time, with each other, as long as they aren’t violating existing vows to another.

Stefan1991 returned to the discussion to expose what a weak argument Lewroll was using…

What would you do if your mum came home one day and said she had raunchy sex with your dad. Oh, would you feel sick then too? Better ban parental sex as well.

Exactly. Just because someone is turned off or disgusted does not mean everyone else should have to refrain.

The discussion goes on for many more messages.

What if you couldn't marry the person you love? Think about that.
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Freedom to Marry Regardless of Religion

Andrea Johnson cautiously supports the polygamous freedom to marry.

A court in Canada is set to make a decision on whether to declare the laws against polygamy unconstitutional in that country. I think it might be a good idea here too, though it would probably be a tax code and legal nightmare.

It doesn’t have to be.

She then goes into Carolyn Jessop’s book and recent news about some FLDS communities.

Despite her own negative experiences, she favors decriminalizing polygamy because she thinks it will offer women in these situations more legal protection and perhaps prevent some of the all-too-common abuses, such as underage marriages. I think she has a good point there.

So do I.

She then mentions Muslim polygyny, and how homes are broken up when not all of the wives and children are allowed to immigrate with the husband.

I'm not sure how practical it would be to legalize polygamy, but I think an argument could be made that refusal to recognize it or prosecuting people for practicing it is a violation of freedom of religion.

It’s also a violation of the freedom of association and equal treatment. People can want a polygamous marriage without a religious basis, and they should be allowed that. It doesn’t matter if they are basing it on a religion, or what religion, or not. It doesn’t matter if they are the same race or not, the same generation or not, if they are closely related or not, if they are the same gender or not, or there are two, three, four, or more of them. Let them have the freedom to marry. Let’s have full marriage equality.

Elmwood commented…

I have done a little reading about Polygamy and one question I have is how could one man with 20 wives and over 110 children support them?

There’s nothing stopping any man from impregnating 20 consenting women right now. There are many men who have impregnated four or more women in a short time span. We pay some of these men large sums to play in professional sports, for example, but even if a man is unable to pay all of his child support, he is not prevented from impregnating more women. Most people know a woman who has children by three or more men. With marriage equality, at least we’d have more children will be growing with married parents.
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What Is a Taboo?

Mary Lupin writes

Is that what taboo is then? A way of protecting an untenable, but dearly held, belief from examination? An interesting thought when one considers taboo subjects like incest. When I was an undergraduate anthropologist I remember thinking about the universal incest taboo and realizing that meant that it was also universal behaviour. The question is do we make it taboo to stop it or to hide it?

The incest taboo is part of an overall attempt to control the sexuality of the masses. Whether we’re talking consanguineous sex, polyamory, same-sex reationships, interracial relationships, intergender relationships (between adults), we’re dealing with something that the sex police have tried to discourage as a way to exert control over others. Intergender relationships have been strictly controlled so that only older male-younger female relationships have been permissible, for example; otherwise, they have to be the same generation.

Prohibitions drive the relationships underground and cause many problems. This should no longer be allowed. We should talk about and respect the freedom of others to share love, sex, and marriage the way they want.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Columnist Still Clings to Bigotry

Mindelle Jacobs at the Edmonton Sun looks at a polyamorous “V.”

Marilyn, a stay-at-home mother and polygamist has a dilemma. Who to sleep with on Valentine’s Day? Her husband or her boyfriend?

If she was in a triangle that engaged in threesomes instead of a V, the question wouldn’t be there.

Marilyn e-mailed me after reading a recent column I wrote in which I criticized a law professor for urging that polygamy be decriminalized.

Good for her.

“As a mother and wife, I firmly believe in the protection of women and children,” she wrote. “As an individual who identifies as polyamorous … and is involved in a consensual relationship with not only my spouse but also with another man, I strongly disagree with (the ban on polygamy).”

Thank you.

She wondered if I’d like to chat. Well, sure. After all, you don’t (knowingly) meet polygamists every day.

Don’t be so sure. Poly people are your neighbors, your coworkers, and people you pass by every day.

She compares her awakening polyamorous sensibility to someone realizing he or she is gay. “It was a very interesting process coming out to myself,” she says. “I realized something very deep about myself — that this kind of relationship makes sense to me. This is who I am.”

She should have that freedom.

All in their mid-40s, they’d be unremarkable in a crowd. No Playboy Mansion looks. Just middle-aged people with a bizarre lifestyle.

Love is not bizarre. It is strange that some people will call this relationship bizarre, but they wouldn't say the same thing if this woman was cheating on her husband, having a secret affair.

Inexplicably, Jacobs wraps up the column this way…

Sorry, Marilyn. While I can’t imagine the police busting up your polygamous party, I don’t want Canada to be a beacon for the cause. Overall, polygamy causes immense harm to women. Why encourage it?

No proof is given, because there isn’t any that will back up such prejudice. What harm is Marilyn suffering? Why deny freedom and equality to consenting adults?

Barbara Anne Smith is confused as shown in this comment…

IMO Marilyn is lucky, but it isn't a true polygamous relationship. If it was, she may be the main wife, but she would also have several sister wives and be at the beck and call of her so-called husband.

Polygamy is any marriage with more than two spouses. Smith is thinking of a certain form of polygyny, which is a subset of polygamy. If Marilyn considers both men her husbands, then she is in a polyandrous form of polygamy. Either way, it is a polyamorous relationship.
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You Don’t Have to Like It

Shu Fen references a case in Singapore I covered here.

CURRENT TOPICS OF CONCERN: ethics (as usual)...INCEST (I mean, other than being unimaginably disgusting and the child produced having higher risk of genetic diseases...what is so explicably wrong about it if it is mutually consensual?)...wait for me to write a thesis on it or something lol. (for the article that piqued my interest:

It may be disgusting to Shu Fen, but there are many people who have everything ranging from recreational fun to lifelong, loving spousal relationships that are with (a) close relative(s). But at least this blogger questions why someone would consider such relationships wrong. You don’t have to like the idea of interracial, same-sex, polyamorous, or consanguineous sex to recognize that it should be up to consenting adults to decide if those relationships are best for them or not.
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More Allies, But Some Myths Persist

On Yahoo Answers, Kati touches on solidarity issues, having asked, “Why are some people who are for homosexual relationships against incestuous relationships?”

Only some people who are “for” homosexual relationships are against consanguineous sexual (incestuous) relationships. Other people recognize that neither homosexual nor consanguineous relationships should be illegal, nor should marriage equality be denied based on either factor. Whether a relationship is same-sex or heterosexual is a different category than whether a relationship is consanguineous or not. That is why some people who may support one may not support the other; they have prejudices against one but not the other. Lately, I’ve encountered people who strongly reject the freedom to polygamy, but are engaged in consanguineous sex. Different categories.

if two people love each other it shouldn't matter, right?

They don’t even need to love each other.

The asker makes it clear this is about consenting adults…

pedophilia has nothing to do with my question. pedophilia can't be compared with homosexual or incestuous relationships because it involves children that can't consent to sexual acts. while too homosexual adults and incestuous adults can consent. So im comparing the two.

There were a lot of allies speaking up. I quote from a few below.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pretending at Monogamy

Blogger hambydammit says, "So We Aren’t Monogamous… What Are We?"

From the archaeological, anthropological, sociological, biological, and anatomical records, we get a clear picture of what humans do. They have sex with multiple partners.

Most do, yes.

But this observation doesn’t help us very much in our day to day life. Particularly in America, we don’t have much choice but to toe the party line and at least pretend towards some form of monogamy, even if it’s serial.

We're working to change that.

The blogger poses some questions, including...

If we are designed to bond long-term with one partner (or perhaps two), why does our biology most closely resemble bonobos, who do not bond this way?

If we are designed for sexual exclusivity, why are human vaginas designed specifically for intense sperm competition? (Sperm competition happens when sperm from multiple males is in the vagina at the same time.)

Why do so many existing hunter-gatherer societies practice multi-male/multi-female mating?

Prompting this...

Clearly, our social insistence on strict monogamy is largely attributable to the imposition of modern monotheism on the Western world, and as I’ve detailed in THIS ARTICLE, the motivations were hardly altruistic.

Whatever the source of the demand for monogamy, there's no need to require people to be monogamous, including in marriage law. Let people decide for themselves.

The blog entry goes on to discuss "primitive cultures," sperm competition, and accumulation, among other things before wrapping up that entry...

In any case, even if we decide that monogamy is still our goal, it’s helpful to understand that we are not especially built for it, and it’s as much about ownership as anything else. Knowing that non-ownership is an option is liberating in and of itself, and perhaps it will open new doors for people who feel like they just “aren’t ready for commitment” at this time. Maybe it could even help redefine what it means to have a “friend with benefits.”

There are, of course, many forms of nonmonogamy that involve commitment.

The next entry is "If We’re Not Monogamous, then Why Are We Monogamous?"

To begin with, let me offer a caveat. Whatever else we might be, we humans are very flexible in our mating. Even today, we see everything from communal mate swapping to highly stratified polygamy to near monogamy. And if there is still a question of whether we are most naturally drawn to monogamous long term pair bonds or not, it’s clear that we are capable of long term monogamy. But it is a very difficult strategy to follow, and seems counter-intuitive on several levels.

It sure does.

This entry goes on to talk reproduction, "bastards," and sperm competition (again).

Finally, there's the third entry that asks, "Can Non-Monogamy Work Today?"

The blogger notes that in reality, we already practice nonmonogamy.

Like it or not, strict exclusive monogamy exists primarily in the wishes and hopes of the highly religious and doggedly old-fashioned. (Not that it was any different in the real good old days…) We practice a coy game of
wink-wink-nudge-nudge when it comes to exclusivity. Estimates range as high as
40% for extra-pair coupling in some populations. In other words, we say we’re
going to be exclusive, and then we practice non-monogamy on the sly.

Furthermore, a large percentage of young people are part of the “hookup culture,” in which some sort of sexual contact is a precursor to a possible relationship. They have friends with benefits, booty-call buddies, pretend boyfriends/girlfriends, and at least a dozen other kinds of short-to-medium term non-committed partnerships. It’s not uncommon for a young person to have uncommitted sexual contact with a half-dozen or more partners before finding someone to commit to exclusively. At nearly all ages, we practice serial monogamy. A significant percentage of young people have relationships that last less than one year. Most retirement age people have had at least two marriages,
and several mid-to-long term relationships in between.

Add to this the growing number of committed couples who are participating in
occasional consentual non-monogamy, such as sex clubs, threesomes, sharing
prostitutes in Vegas, making out with the best friend, etc, and we realize that
we are already non-monogamous. We just make a big show of telling everybody we
aren’t.

That sounds awfully familiar.

The blogger looks at various reasons people profess or pretend to try to be monogamous, then concludes...

We have to admit that each aspect of a relationship is possible without sexual exclusivity. Granted, there are potential pitfalls and problems with each category, but that’s not news. There are problems with all of them in exclusive relationships, too.

There is much more to each of the three entries, and they are worth a read.
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