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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why Polyamory Will Gain Acceptance Faster

It’s not going to take as long for polyamorists to get our freedoms, including the freedom to marry, as it is taking (monogamist) gays and lesbians.

First, I need to have a bit of clarification here. Polyamory has always been around with some public awareness, whatever forms it has taken or whichever labels have been applied, especially if we go with the broad term ethical nonmonogamy instead.

What I mean is that in the US, as well as many other countries, there was a sustained period of trying to force everyone, or at least everyone but the elite, into heterosexual, gender-roled, married monogamy with spouses that were “acceptable” by class, race, religion, etc. Those deemed not suitable for marriage were often kept out of public life in general. For example, people with certain disabilities were expected to stay home or be institutionalized so as to not cause discomfort to people who would be uneasy around them. That oppression is in the process of being dismantled. We are ending the prosecutions, the persecutions, the stigmatizing, and everything else that makes it so people go into hiding (or hiding an important part of who they are) because of who they are and who they love.

Polyamorists haven't had a "Stonewall" moment. Many people cite the Stonewall Riots of 1969 as the start of gay and lesbian people fighting back against such persecution. It has been 44 years and same-gender couples are still barred from legally marrying in most US states and LGBT people still need employment protections (ENDA). But the momentum is rapidly building, especially with the recent Supreme Court actions on DOMA and PropH8 and the death of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for military service, and all of the public figures who are coming out in support of the same-gender freedom to marry. There have been so many advancements since 1969.

Note that earlier in the 1960s, the US adopted laws to protect racial minorities nationwide, and the Loving v. Virginia case struck down bans on the interracial freedom to marry, over a hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Women got the vote nationwide in 1920 and have made much progress, but are still on the journey.

So will polyamorists have to wait a couple of generations?

Happily, the answer is no. Here why:



1) Momentum. Note that gay civil rights have made progress much faster than feminist and racial civil rights. Likewise, rights for nonmonogamists and people who don’t want to marry at all will not take as long as gay rights. Momentum is building, and polyamorists should be exceedingly appreciative of the work done by the racial, feminist, gay, and lesbian civil rights champions.

2) Smaller opposition. Opposition to polyamory and the polygamous freedom to marry comes almost entirely from specific segments of religious conservatives, more and more of whom are warming up to the fact that civil marriages are not a threat to their churches and that it is destructive and wasteful to concentrate on trying to control adult relationships, especially when it comes to people who are not members of their church. There are some who oppose the polygamous freedom to marry out of concern for tax/benefit issues, but those concerns can be addressed without denying any adults the freedom to marry.

3) Less motivated opposition.
Most of the above considered “line in the sand” to be the same-gender freedom to marry and are already resigned to polygamous freedom to marry upon national establishment of the same-gender freedom to marry. While some monogamist LGBT people bristle at the connection, what matters is that a connection exists in the mind of those who oppose the freedoms and they do not want to continue fighting one freedom if the other is established. Those who identify as LGBT monogamists have much more in common with those who identify as heterosexual monogamists than some heteros realize, but in the prejudiced mind, monogamist LGBT people and polyamorists are in the same big “other” category.

4) More existing understanding. Some strictly heterosexual people are disgusted by the thought of gay sex and much of the now-diminishing opposition from heterosexuals to the same-gender freedom to marry came from that. Or, if not disgusted, they (especially males) simply couldn’t understand how someone might find someone of the same gender sexually or romantically attractive. But almost everyone can understand (or has personally experienced) being romantically or sexually attracted to more than one person at the same time. They’ve had the feelings themselves; this is one reason they bring up polyamory when discussing the freedom to marry. While someone may not personally want to pursue polyamory, they are more likely to avoid opposing those who do. Also, for religious conservatives, there is a heritage of polyamory in their traditions and clear scriptural prohibitions are lacking in most traditions’ scriptures.

5) Strict monogamy is rare. Most people are mostly or strictly heterosexual in how they see themselves and live, even if they’ve had some experiences with someone of the same gender. Very few people are truly and strictly monogamists sexually, emotionally, romantically over the course of a lifetime. Extending rights to polyamorous people, including the polygamous freedom to marry, deals with a reality that everyone has experienced. For example, if someone has children with more than one person, and they are all agreeable to a marriage structure involving three or more people, why deny them that? Relationships, including marriage, usually involve more than one bond (erotic, romantic, friendship, cohabitational, parental, legal, financial, professional, shared interests) between the people involved, and sometimes one of those bonds may diminish or end with one person and begin or increase with another, but there is no reason to end the earlier relationship; there could be good reasons nobody wants to end the relationship. For example, a woman might share sex, residence, children, and a business with one man, and sex, romance, friendship, and a love of theatre with another.

6) Political compatibility. Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives can all find much to like in polyamory, which is why you can find polyamorists in just about all areas of the political map. Polyamorists who are progressives see cooperative and efficient living in polyamory. Libertarians (who generally oppose government restriction on adult behavior that doesn’t violate another’s property or person) and conservative polyamorists like the idea of people relying on each other rather than a government program.

7) Increased compassion. More and more people now recognize that letting consenting adults have their relationships and love each other as they want is the right thing to do, and opposing relationships between consenting adults is not only mean-spirited, but a waste.

8) Experience. While many LGBT people are monogamists, some socially/politically active LGBT people are polyamorists or poly-friendly, and they are already motivated and working towards full marriage equality, and experienced in advancing these civil rights.

While some people fighting for LGBT rights or the same-gender freedom to marry only care about LGBT rights and monogamy, or even reject association with or comparison to polyamorists (including LGBT polyamorists) others have shown solidarity. Polyamorists owe a great deal of thanks to those in the racial, feminist, gay and lesbian civil rights movements for opening minds and establishing rights for adults, as well as continuing solidarity in the fight for those rights. Polyamorists will get their rights faster not because the movement is stronger than the LGBT rights movement, but rather exactly because the LGBT rights movement has been so strong.

Relationship rights and full marriage equality for all adults is going to happen. We’re trying to make it happen sooner rather than later.
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5 comments:

  1. No "Stonewall" moment for consanguinamory yet either. This is despite the fact that first cousin marriage is already legal in some states, and a lawsuit attacking one of the states that ban it would be very easy to pursue (due to same-sex marriage precedents, etc.).

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    1. Jah love. I cannot comprehend why first cousins would want to gwt married at all. Such unions are genetically dangerous and they reflect some sinister and abusive family legacy. Many royal families in Western Europe practice this and it has resulted in bad blood and rampant diaeases and genetic, problems. And in my own family where it happened.because of incest, child abuse and cuz folks wanted to keep the land in the family, it was a bad idea. I know two first cousins who married and isolated themselves from their families and they chose to not have children. I did not feel that they were in love when I was around them. It felt like two best friends who lived together. I would not want my children to do this. We already have enough genetic problems with diabeties and skin problems as well as mental illness. Moreover, there are soo many cases of sexual abuse in our families and I would notwant to promote or encourage that. Blessed love.

      Delete
    2. Marijannayiti, thank you for your comments. I'm sorry you've been through some bad experiences. First cousins freely choose to be together and some of them choose to be come parents together, and nothing is wrong with either of those. Some of them are very happy together and have happy, healthy children.

      We should never equate consensual adult relationships with abuse, especially with child abuse.

      I support the rights of all adults. That doesn't mean I think every two people should have a relationship, just that it shouldn't be anybody else's place to stop them.

      Delete
  2. I think it might be gross for certain people to have sex and get married. But that is a FEELING. I believe in full marriage.

    ReplyDelete

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

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