Monday, March 19, 2012

An Ally in Australia

Katherine Feeney wrote at on nonmonogamy in “Partners: more the merrier, or is less best?”

It got me thinking again about open relationships. Or rather whether we’ve come to a point where commonly held assumptions about what it means to be in a relationship aren’t really common. Are we finally really living in an open-minded age?

It does seem we are. Full marriage equality is going to happen; it is just a matter of when.

She then references Newt Gingrich and says he asked his wife for an open marriage. Asking a wife to stick around right after you’ve told her you’ve been cheating with one other specific woman and you want both of them isn’t asking for an open marriage. An open marriage is one in which the partners are open to new partners (and open with each other about that.)

Mutually consensual nonmonogamy should never be equated to cheating. Cheating can happen in supposedly monogamous relationships as well as nonmonogamous relationships.

In Australia, as in America, there is both ardent support for, and furious opposition to, gay and lesbian relationships. Extremities of opinion are nothing new, but the sensible consideration of equality is. Public discussion about whether queer love can expect to achieve the legitimacy formerly reserved for the heterosexual married marks the end of a suppressive era. It marks the beginning of a swing, here at least, in favour of unions formerly ignored or denied. But how far does the notion of marriage equality – to wit, relationship equality – extend? Far enough that open or polyamorous relationships will be similarly accepted as ‘OK’?

Let’s hope. The equality should extend to protecting the rights of adults to be themselves and to have consensual relationships with other adults without prosecution, persecution, or discrimination. That means regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, an adult should be free to be out of the closet as LGBT and to live accordingly with any consenting adults, free to be out of the closet as polyamorous and to live accordingly with any consenting adults, and free to be consanguinamorous.

The government this week tapped into the issue by funding a program aimed at addressing forced marriages.

Everyone, regardless of gender, should be free to not marry, and to divorce.

Let adults have the relationships they want. Don’t way to marry someone of the same gender? Don’t. Don’t want to have an open marriage? Don’t. Don’t want to have a polygamous marriage? Don’t. But do not try to stop others who want those things.

Feeney appears to be an ally. Good for her.
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