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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Winning Rights for the Polyamorous


Professor of Law Hadar Aviram has some advice for polyamorists who want their rights recognized and protected, pointing to the success of those seeking the limited same-gender freedom to marry. She references the Supreme Court's recent move to deny review, without comment, the state court decisions overturning bans on same-gender marriages. Then writes...
Shortly after the first San Francisco round of same-sex marriages in 2004 I interviewed polyamorous activists, who at the time expressed little interest in legal activism... More recently, however, with the success of marriage equality, the community is exhibiting more interest in legal recognition of polyamorous relationships. 
As I've said before, the only thing all polyamorous people have in common is that they are people and they are polyamorous. Some polyamorous people do not care about marriage equality in general, or government documentation of (their) relationships. Some do not care about marriage at all, even just ceremonial. Others very much want the polyamorous or polygamous freedom to marry and other protections for their rights.
Some of this renewed interest in legal mobilization is inspired by same-sex marriage, and some of it relates to the increased public visibility of polyamory; nonmonogamous relationships have been highlighted on several popular television shows, like Big Love, Sister Wives, and Polyamory: Married and Dating.
Momentum and visibility help. Aviram notes the incremental path to the limited same-gender freedom to marry, then adds...
Clearly, polyamorous activists are not solely benefitting from the success of the marriage equality struggle; they also have to overcome the hurdles that success has created for them. If their success is to follow a similar pattern, there may be other victories, in areas of adoption, custody and employment discrimination, that need to be won first. And a crucial component of their struggle’s success would be a significant improvement in public opinion of nonmonogamous relationships, which is complicated by anti-Mormon and anti-Islamist sentiments.

I've written about this before under Why Polyamory Will Gain Acceptance Faster and How You Can Help.

One way we're going to win full marriage equality is by getting people to remove that invisible asterisk. Of course, it would be nice if the Supreme Court made a definitive move for national civil rights.
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