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Thursday, July 11, 2013

When Poly Is Made Part of Negative News

I have noticed that all too often, headlines and opening paragraphs of negative news items will try to associate polyamory or polygamy with a crime. For example, something along the lines of "Polygamous Man Beats Wife." How often do you see headlines like "Monogamous Man Beats Wife?" Never? Is that because monogamous men never beat women? Of course not.


There is terrible news out of Saginaw, Texas about a murdered 6-year-old girl. Her parents are polyamorous, and so now that has become part of the headlines and the story.  Polyamory in the News, which I can't recommend more highly, rounds up coverage. There's a murdered girl and people want to fight over whether or not it is OK that more than two adults love each other. There was a case of a murdered girl in 2002 when the desperate defense said that the victim's parents were swingers or in an open marriage, and suggested one of their friends committed the murder.

Scott Gordon at nbcdfw.com reported in a story with the headline "Father of Slain Texas Girl Defends Polyamorous Family." The girl's father lives with the girl's mother and her husband.


Miles McDaniel, the father of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher, spoke for the first time about his daughter's death and their family.
"I want to find out who did this," he said Tuesday shortly after speaking with investigators for a few hours. "I want justice. And I hope that they can be found."

The family includes him; Gallagher's mother, Laura Gallagher; and her husband, Karl. McDaniel said he knows neither of his spouses committed the crime, saying theirs is a loving family.

"Anyone who knows the family knows that there are three parents in the family," he said. "If anyone is interested, Google polyamory."
There's a LOT out there, as Google will show.
Police have said that the family is not suspected in Gallagher's death.
That's important.

Most headlines that refer to this family as polyamorous are unfair in how they are written. Most children who are murdered, often by a relative, are from supposedly monogamous homes, but how often do you see a headline that says, "Slain Child From Monogamous Family?" A child has been murdered! What does it matter how many adults love each other?

Here's a current example for comparison. There's an 11-year-old special-needs boy who was reported missing and has, days later, been found murdered. His 16-year-old stepbrother (some sources say half-brother) has been arrested for the murder. The story is getting wide coverage. How many of the reports are headlined with "Boy From Monogamous Home Found Murdered?" Or "Teen From Monogamous Home Arrested for Murder?" Probably NONE.

The only time is makes sense to make polyamory part of the headline or part of the first few paragraphs of the report is if it is somehow the cause of the crime or a contributing factor. For example, if a family is harassed because they are polyamorous. Being polyamorous doesn't cause domestic violence or child abuse. Abusers cause those things, whether they are monogamous or polyamorous.

In these cases, let's focus on what is really important. Children have been murdered.

As far as the family goes, if you were a child, would you prefer all three of your parents living in the same home and getting along with each other and loving each other, or would you like at least one of them to be hostile or at least distant from the others and have to split your time between two different homes? This child had three parents. Many barely have one.
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