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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Polyamorists React to Court Decision on DOMA

First and foremost, I join with many others in congratulating everyone in the US who will be able to marry the person they love and have that marriage be recognized under federal law, due to the Supreme Court decision on DOMA. Enjoy, all you newlyweds!

As readers of my blog are well aware, we have a long way to go on relationship rights, including full marriage equality, for all adults, but progress is better than no progress.

The court decision has resulted in much discussion in polyamory and polgamy circles, and by journalists who cover them.

At Radical Poly Agenda, this was the initial posting reacting to the decision.



Over at BuzzFeed, an article went up about polygamists celebrating the DOMA ruling. Though polygamy only technically means multiple marriage, we all know that it’s traditionally associated with certain fundamentalist religious practices. As more articles like this appear, it’s going to be important for polyamorists to make our voices heard as well, and to clarify how we differ in practice from one-sided patriarchal polygamy.

Over at Poly In the Media, Alan offered a little round-up of his own, featuring a handful of articles about multi-partner marriage that have cropped up in the past few days.

At Modern Poly, several new articles with a variety of perspectives on the theme of marriage were published in June, just ahead of the court’s ruling.
A great round-up by RPA.
As I’m in the early stages of planning my own (non-legal) wedding with one of my partners, this is all a very timely discussion for me. The jury is still out among poly activists as to whether marriage rights are really something we consider a pressing issue, though the majority of us seem to feel we’d like to have that right (or to see marriage de-regulated entirely) someday.
A subsequent update had this...
The fact that some plural marriages, like plenty of monogamous marriages, happen in a problematic way is not a moral argument against the entire institution. I don’t believe that poly marriage is right around the corner. But if I’m going to defend the ethical implications of it, I’m going to do so in a way that says “if this happened tomorrow, so what? Have you stopped and thought about whether there’s really anything ethically different about this than about monogamous marriage, gay or straight?”
The best answer to bigots who ask, "Is polyamorous marriage next?" or "Is polygamy next?" or "What's next?" is to ask, "What's is the problem with letting consenting adults marry?"

The blog entries deal with the larger issues of societal conventions.
And I feel like we can say “you know, I really just want to marry two people and live in the suburbs” and leave it at that. Or we can have these conversations about radically challenging the dominant power structures. And I think we can do both of these things at the same time; I’m living with my partners in the suburbs, after all. But I think if we allow marriage to become the entirety of the conversation, we’re really missing out on a much larger and more important opportunity to situate ourselves as part of a broader system of hierarchies and oppressions.
I do understand the point RPA is making. Marriage is not everything when it comes to rights. But marriage equality is the focus of this blog. So let's make the most of these moments and keep momentum building.
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