Friday, March 8, 2013

The Poly Freedom to Marry Will Happen

Bumped up so I can refer you to compare what I wrote with what was written at this poly blog.

With awareness of polyamory rising, there has been buzz lately, some of it with a discouraging tone, about whether or not polyamorous marriages (what I call polygamy) will be legalized. I don't consider it an if, but a when. Others, not so much. Mistress Matisse at The Stranger doesn't agree, for one example.

It's true that some poly people don't want their relationship associated with anything resembling hetero-mono conformity or formality, especially not in a form registered with a government, and some of those don't want anyone's relationship anointed by government. There are others, however, who do want to be free to have their polyamorous marriage registered and treated equally.

As long as marriage, civil unions, or anything of the sort is offered by the government, then an adult should be be free to enter into one with any and all consenting adults. From a government perspective, marriage is about money (forming a corporation) and next-of-kin. When it comes to money, we already have models in business of how to accommodate more than two people, how to handle it if one person wants to leave or another wants to join, etc, When it comes to next of kin, that can be sorted out with an additional legal document or a single line on a marriage license.

All of the legal questions can be addressed, and such questions should not deny someone their fundamental rights. It is an established pattern, in the US anyway, that even though it is convenient for the majority to not allow a minority their rights, the minority can't be denied their rights. Racial desegregation wasn't convenient. It meant changing a lot of things.

So, monogamists might not see a need. People who do not want ongoing relationships with anyone might not see the need. Even some poly people might not see the need. But the need is there. Polyamorists must be afforded equal protection and equal access. Like other adults, we must be protected against discrimination perpetrated because of who we love.

It should be obvious to anyone paying attention that some people are polyamorous just as much as they are left-handed or right-handed, even if those people are not seeing anyone at all at any given time in their lives. Monogamy isn't for everyone. Polyamory is for some, and everyone will be better off the faster more people realize this.

Whether someone wants to be celibate, or have monogamy, or have some form of polyamory, or want to swing or swap, whether they want to have an open or closed relationship... whether they want to cohabitate or not, or get married or not... those should all be up to the people involved. They should have those options, and it shouldn't mean they can be discriminated against, abused, bullied, or harassed.

Don't bet on there never being a strong push from poly people and our allies. Bets against the advancement of civil rights haven't turned out so well in the long run. There is no good reason to deny the polygamous freedom to marry. It's going to happen.

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