Saturday, March 17, 2012

Consenting Adults Denied Their Rights in Canada

Much of the Canadian news media was complicit in the denial of rights by editorializing against full marriage equality during the recent poly trial. At least we have a sympathetic article now about John, Louise and Eric, although it is a little late.

John and Louise are legally married but have each other's permission to date other people, and John currently has a girlfriend. They also have one six-year-old son, and another 10-year-old son from John's previous marriage.

Louise is also in a relationship with Eric, and the three of them formalized their triad in a commitment ceremony in 2010. Eric, in turn, has a 13-year-old daughter from his previous marriage.

The three of them live in an East Side house with the six-year-old son and frequent visits from their other two children.

Sounds very much like many monogamous marriages. How did this start?

John and Louise had an open relationship and had experimented with swinging.

"It just left us feeling a little empty," says John. "When the attraction started between Eric and Louise, it really proved to be more than just a sexual attraction. It was more of an emotional attachment. That appealed to myself and appealed to Louise and I think at that point, it appealed to Eric, although at that point he was confused. It morphed into what we were actually looking for."

So where's the problem? Here...

John, Louise and Eric formalized their relationship with a commitment ceremony in August 2010. "We exchanged rings, we had vows, we had a marriage in all the traditional senses, apart from a justice of the peace and apart from a priest. We had a moderator," says John. They plan on drawing up documents regarding custody of children and division of assets.

John, Louise and Eric's commitment ceremony could put them, and everybody who attended, in trouble because of a 120-year-old law and a small community of fundamentalist Mormons. "Based on the legal interpretation, everybody at the ceremony is liable for legal action," says John.

It is ridiculous that a law would deny consenting adults full marriage equality, the right to have a ceremony, and the right to simply be together as spouses. Someday, future generations will look back  and wonder what the big deal was; why anyone would try to interfere in relationships between consenting adults.
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