Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank You, Nancy Whitlow

Nancy Whitlow wrote to the Telegraph Herald of Dubuque, Iowa, to champion marriage equality in response to someone who is against marriage equality.

Definitions are made by people and are updated on a regular basis. What tradition is so sacrosanct that millions of people should be denied basic human rights to perpetuate it?

Slavery was a tradition. That women couldn't vote or own property was a tradition. Someone from a culture with the tradition of polygamy, which Mr. Leifker mentions as undesirable, could make the same argument that this tradition should be upheld.

"Where does it end?" he asks. It would be wonderful if it would end in all people being able to make loving commitments to each other in marriage.

Shouldn’t the “end” be allowing all adults to marry the consenting person or person(s) he or she wants to marry? Why do we deny this right to any free, consenting adult?
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The US Has Always Had Polygamy

But it has long been illegal. Over at this blog, the writer discusses legalizing polygamy in the US and making things better as a result.

There are all forms of what would tantamount to polygamy going on in the United States.

Polygamy is defined by as “1: the practice or condition of having more than one spouse, esp. wife, at one time. 2: the habit or system of mating with more than one individual, either simultaneously or successively.”

From this definition one can clearly see the practice of polygamy going on in the United States without being in the traditional or Biblical Old Testament form of polygamy.

We should at least give people the option of raising these children in marriage.

The constitution grants the freedom of religion, yet within the same constitution, polygamy is illegal.

The American Constitution clearly grants the freedom of religion, but polygamy is not mentioned directly. Nor is monogamy. It would fall under equal protection. Under equal protection and the freedoms of religion and association, polygamy should be allowed.

The United States makes a great show of monogamy yet unofficially practice polygamy in so many ways. We are all aware of the role mistress’s play in our society. There are so many politicians and athletes who have mistresses and cheated against their spouses with other people. In some instances they cheat with people of the same sex.

This is one way polygamy can actually bring more order and stability and equality. Rather than only two people being legal spouses to each other and the rest of the people they are involved with (with the understanding of both spouses) being second-class citizens, everyone can be treated equally.

The blogger writes from experience…

I came from a polygamous family myself. My late dad had two wives and my mother is the second surviving wife. In the African culture, it is allowed but it doesn’t mean any man can go out there and accumulate wives without being responsible for the upbringing and provision for his household. It is an obligation, which must be fulfilled in all circumstances. There are men out there paying child support to numerous women and in some instances are dead beat dads. If the practice of polygamy was legalized I believe that it would drastically reduce some divorce situations which main objective is to gain financially from one of the spouse involved. My concluding question is what is the difference when a man is legally married and yet father’s multiple children outside of the marriage?

The difference, of course, is that it is likely the children whose mothers aren’t considered the man’s legal spouse suffer. No, not all of these people would be married togther if they could, but some would. And why should they be stopped? This is also the problem children of same-sex couples are facing in most states, where same-sex marriage is still banned, and children being raised by close family members who aren’t allowed to legally marry. Full marriage equality will be better for the adults and the children. Rather than trying to force everyone into one narrow form of marriage, which is clearly contributing to the high divorce rate, why not allow adults to choose for themselves?
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Blame Abusers, Not the Freedom to Marry

From the news articles I have read so far, it appears as though the anti-equality bigots in Canada are arguing that allowing consenting adults to marry more than one person magically causes child abuse and of various sorts and the abuse of women. Assuming things are horrible for women and children in the polygynous community of Bountiful, near Lister, British Columbia, is it really because of the polygyny? How could that be, given that there are many polygynous families where nobody is abused? Maybe other factors in place in Bountiful are to blame?

From the Canadia Press:

Opponents of polygamy have cited a long list of abuses they say are inextricably linked to polygamy, including child brides, teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse of girls, the subjugation of women and casting away boys who aren't able to marry.

Macintosh replied that if there are abuses associated with polygamy in Bountiful or elsewhere, the government should focus on prosecuting those crimes rather than targeting a type of relationship that isn't, by itself, abusive.

That would be the sensible thing to do, right?

Earlier in the day, the court heard from a lawyer representing the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, who argued that lifting the law against polygamy would violate Canada's international obligations.

In particular, Brent Olthuis said the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires the Canadian government to protect children from the harms associated with polygamy as practised in Bountiful.

But those alleged harms have happened with polygamy being illegal, correct? Perhaps the lack of this freedom to marry is part of the problem. People are afraid of having their marriages broken up if they talk with law enforcement. Legalize polygamy, and check on the children.

The Vancouver Sun had an article about two women who describe a horrible life.

Both are witnesses for the B.C. attorney-general, who has filed their video affidavits as evidence. Both support Stop Polygamy in Canada and run a non-profit in Anacortes, Wash., that helps victims of domestic violence and polygamy.

I despise child abuse and any kind of domestic violence, but polygamy is not the cause of these things. Abusers are. Almost all child abuse and domestic violence happens in supposedly monogamous situations, or with someone hired by a parent to care for the child.

The children were also neglected. No doctor was called when Rena had measles, mumps and chickenpox all at the same time, or when her ear infection was so severe that it left her profoundly deaf in one ear. Her father blamed the illnesses on Rena and her mother lacking faith and being disobedient.

This guilt-by-association attempt is not an indictment of polymamy. It is something that happens mostly in monogamous families of many different backgrounds that think illness is a religious matter and that getting medical care is a denial of God or some spiritual principle. And there are people do not trust vaccines for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with how many spouses they have.

Bring polygamy out of the shadows and let it be strutinized.

Another article in the Vancouver Sun

Is there good polygamy and bad polygamy?

Is there good monogamy and bad monogamy?

Is there good celibacy and bad celibacy?

That was the big question raised Thursday at the end of the first week of the constitutional reference case to determine the validity of Canada's polygamy law that's being heard in B.C. Supreme Court.

Since when should government decide what relationships otherwise law-abiding consenting adults should have? Haven’t we all known people (perhaps ourselves) who were in bad relationships and we wanted them to be out of those relationships? Should law enforcement have had the power to intervene when there was no violence?

The attorney-general for Canada earlier in the week defined polygamy as any relationship involving more than two people that has been formalized by some sort of rite or ceremony.

By that definition, said Ince, three lesbians living together on Commercial Drive would be criminals if they had a party to formally mark their shared love.

But if they didn't have a party, they'd be fine.

It is absurd.

From The Province

John Ince, a lawyer for the association, said the polygamy law is "fundamentally flawed" and doesn't differentiate between the patriarchal polygamy of fundamentalist Mormons and polyamory, where no gender is dominant.

Gender equality is a necessary component to have full marriage equality. Some argue that there isn’t gender equality within the FLDS, but the FLDS exists within Canada, and so the law provides gender equality, though some choose not to actualize that in their lives. Perhaps social workers should be allowed to talk alone with spouses to confirm that they want to remain in their community. But don’t keep laws against polygamy that punish people who are happy.

"This is a law that could break up loving families. It is as radical an intrusion into the private sphere of life as can be imagined."

Ince said there were thousands of people engaging in polyamory in Canada.

Government should not break up families unless it will prevent abuse.
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Keep Updated on the Canadian Poly Trial

This blog exists to argue for the rights of consenting adults to love, sex, and marriage: full marriage equality. Two of the many dimensions of that include the right to live together or not in a polyamorous relationship (which is illegal in some places), and the right to marry more than one person (polygamy, which is illegal in may more places). So it is with great interest that we are following the trial underway in Canada that may remove the laws that exist against this freedom to marry.

I can’t outdo the coverage being provided by some of my favorite blogs, so I’m giving this reminder to check these blogs for updates:

Escape to Polygamy
Dear Polly Amorie
Polyamory Paradigm
Polyamory in the News
Introspections of a Plural Wife (at Heart)
Looking For Balance

I will also continue to look at some of the articles in the general media.

I call on same-sex couples, who only recently gained their freedom to marry in Canada, to show solidarity with same-sex and mixed-sex polycules – trios, quads, etc. – who would very much like to have their freedom to marry. Of course, mixed-sex couples and singles should show their solidarity, too. Imagine not being able to marry someone you love.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Triad Featured in the News

This article in an Australian news source says “three is the new two” as it profiles a three people in a polyamorous relationship, using pseudonyms.

Mari (a 33-year-old student doing her second degree), Sara (a 32-year-old uni lecturer) and David (a 35-year-old IT geek) have been a sexually monogamous, three-way unit for six years.

They are not religious, they're not cult members and they're not even that into group sex.

They just happened to all fall in love with each other at roughly the same time.

For the most part, the Brisbane trio have kept the details of their polyamorous private life to themselves. But they are slowly coming out of the closet now.

Good for them. I hope they find acceptance.

Telling people about their super-sized relationship is complicated by a lack of unloaded language options. Threesome sounds too sexy and there is no triplicate version of the word couple.


Polyamory, also known as ethical non-monogamy, is billed by many activists as the new gay; the next sexual revolution. It's separate from swinging, in that (as the Latin root suggests) emotion is involved. Its also very different to religious polygamy such as that portrayed on the HBO TV show Big Love.

In short: more than two people, more than just sex, God optional.

Books, blogs and academic research into the practice are all rising, as is the predictable outrage from traditionalists and even from some non-traditionalists who say the trend muddies the gay marriage debate.

Muddies? It’s great that more people are getting the freedom to marry, but we need full marriage equality. If consenting adults should be allowed to marry, why carve out a denial of that right when it comes to polamory, which is as ancient as people (or some other animals)? If Mari can marry Sara, or she can marry David, why can’t she marry both at the same time? It is that simple.

The article then goes on to the Canadian trial for a bit before explaining more about the featured family.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Coming Out to Family

Polly (a mother with two husbands) had a coming-out discussion with her sister about her relationships, knowing that her sister didn’t approve. To her sister’s credit, she subsequently apologized, but first she bought up these issues that so many other people raise…

The whole situation does seem incredibly selfish to me though... and a twisted environment to raise children in.

I’m wondering how the situation is selfish if it is meeting the needs or at least some of the needs of all involved. For raising children, I’m not sure what harm there is in having another loving, responsible adult in the home.

Are you teaching your girls that it's okay to have multiple sexual partners as long as you are 'committed' to sleeping with all of them?

It is okay for adults to have multiple dating, domestic, love, sexual, or heck, dancing partners (and those aren’t always synonymous). While most polyamory does involve sex, not all “lovers” will necessarily have sexual relationships.

It doesn't seem stable or safe to me.

Stable. Are supposedly monogamous marriages all that stable these days? In most states, any spouse can file for a divorce at any time without actually giving a real reason, and the other spouse can’t stop it. And it happens to a high percentage of marriages. What is stable is proven by time.

Safe. There is nothing unsafe in having another responsible adult in the home. If anything, having a second husband provides more security as it is more likely an adult will be home at any given time to supervise and dissuade potential intruders. Whether in a monogamous or poly relationship, what makes something unsafe is being with someone who is abusive, violent, or destructive. Children should not be subjected to an abusive person even if they got their DNA from that person.

Polly responded very well with a letter she offers as a template for others…

I said that whether or not you could accept him as family was up to you. Not, “I’m open to hear your criticism.” I’m happy to discuss many things, but whether or not I should be in a relationship with someone I love is not one of them. I’m not asking for your understanding or approval, although I greatly admire those who make an effort towards understanding even when they do not approve. I am not trying to get attention or make a statement. I just want to quietly love who I love, without being in hiding somewhere. My relationships are not up for debate or scrutiny any more than yours are.

Stuart and I have chosen to have a family that is very different from yours. That does not mean that it is unhealthy or wrong for us…It may be wrong for you, and that’s okay. I respect your family as it is, not as I would have it be.

Go read the rest of it. Great stuff.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Missouri Misery

Here’s yet another story from March of 2009 about consenting adults being prosecuted for having sex. I guess there must have been something going on that month among prosecutors.

Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Rupp has charged a man and woman for having sex with each other.

I’m glad the reporter worded it that way. Kudos to Teresa Ressel.

According to the charge filed in Associate Circuit Court this week, the man and woman are father and daughter and they have a child together.

So what?

William Isgriggs, 46, and Kerri R. Isgriggs, 25, both of a Steelville address, have been charged with incest. Kerri Isgriggs has also been charged with second-degree assault.

The incest charges allege that the two engaged in a sexual relationship, knowing they were daughter and father. The relationship resulted in the birth of a child.

The assault charge alleges Kerri Isgriggs caused serious injury to a child by throwing the child from a standing position onto a wooden framed toddler bed. The impact caused the child to fracture a leg.

Can you spot the real crime? Yes, that’s right, assaulting a child. That should bring the law down on someone, not sex.

The criminal case and the article should have been entirely about child abuse. Whether or not consenting adults are having sex with each other should not be the business of prosecutors.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Old Consensual Sex Case Prosecuted Recently

I found another story from March of last year that seems strange. An elderly Pulaski County (Kentucky) man was charged with a crime for having sex with his daughter two decades ago, when she was an adult.

Police have said the case began in 2005 when officials investigated a neglect complaint about the child, who was born in 1991.

Police said DNA confirmed the man was the child's father and grandfather.

The Associated Press doesn't name alleged victims of sex crimes and isn't naming the man in this case to protect the identity of the daughter, who is now in her 40s.

Did he have custody of the child? If so, charge him with neglect, if the complaint was indeed valid (the paper doesn't indicate the child was, in fact, neglected.) The child would have had to be around 18 years old at the time the man was indicted. If he didn’t have custody, then charge the mother with neglect. Why charge someone with what was apparently consensual sex, especially when it happened two decades ago? The woman was in her 20s at the time. And notice, she chose to have and keep the child instead of choosing abortion, adoption, or abandonment. There is no indication given that the child had any birth defects or that the woman was raped. What a waste of court resources. Either that, or incomplete reporting.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Consenting Adults Criminally Charged For Sex

This story from Australia goes back to March of 2009.

The death of a baby born to a Central Highlands brother and sister was how police first discovered their incestuous relationship.

It was the couple's second child together.

The first child is living with them. The article gives no indication that they are accused of being unfit parents, or that their first child has any problems.

Yesterday the 36-year-old woman and the 34-year-old man admitted to their forbidden relationship in Rockhampton Magistrates Court.

I just can’t imagine setting up on the bench in a black robe and judging consenting adults for the “crime” of having sex together, especially in what appears to be an ongoing, loving marital relationship.

It's believed the couple are still in a relationship and are raising their first-born child together.

They cannot be named by law to protect the identity of their living child.

Both were charged and entered guilty pleas yesterday to two counts of incest between 2003 and 2005.


Police said the relationship came to light after the baby died.

DNA tests revealed the parents were siblings.

Details surrounding the baby's death were not released in court yesterday.

So there’s no indication given in the article that the second child died from birth defects. These siblings are in love and sharing a life. They should be married by their government, not prosecuted.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Example of Grasping at Straws

…to try to justify denying poly people the right to marriage.

Diane Wuesthoff of Southwest Portland was not happy that a columnist, writing about “Sister Wives,” pointed out that polygamy is "simply another family choice outside the norm." Well, I could take issue with that, too. Is it really outside the norm? If it is, it is only because someone lives with their partners at the same time, instead of divorcing one while taking on another. Certainly, lifelong heterosexual monogamy in which someone practices abstinence until legally marrying one person of the opposite sex, never engaging in any sexual activity with anyone else and remaining married until death… is not the norm, either.

Wuesthoff also complains that the columnist…

compares advocates for polygamy to supporters of gay marriage.

Certainly the freedom to marry someone of the same sex isn’t the same thing as the freedom to marry more than one person, but both freedoms are important ingredients to full marriage equality, and both are about allowing consenting adults to share love, sex, and marriage as they see fit for themselves.

However, like many people who base their beliefs about marriage on religious or moral convictions accompanied by a limited understanding of what a state interest in marriage comprises, she completely neglects discussion of the legal issues about which the state has a clear and compelling interest: property sharing and transfer, inheritance issues and contract law.

All of those can work under polygamy.

Civil marriage essentially being a specialized contract between two parties only, there are special statutes that apply to that particular contractual relationship, to its dissolution and to the continued care of the human product of that relationship, children.

Why only two parties?

Not all marriages produce children. Not all children are produced in a legal marriage. Legalizing polygamy (and consanguineous marriage) would allow more children who are going to be born either way to be born into a legal marriage.

If we were to allow unlimited numbers of people to enter a single legal marriage -- and that would necessarily include, by the way, women with multiple husbands -- we would have a great deal more than tax laws and employer practices to overhaul.

Oh, I see. Some people should not have the freedom to marry because it would mean lawmakers and employers might have to… react. That’s a compassionate way of thinking, isn’t it? “We can’t end segregation, it will mean taking down all of those signs!”

What happens when a multiple marriage ends in divorce?

That would depend on the law and any pre- or post-nuptial agreement, now wouldn’t it? I wonder if the letter writer is the kind of person who says that a road should not be built because it will mean that they city will have to go out and buy traffic signs and then have the patrol the road, too? Such a hassle!

Would all the partners have to divorce, dissolving the marriage contract entirely, or would the ones who wanted to stay together simply vote the undesired partner off the island?

Purely from a legal perspective and not necessarily anyone’s personal beliefs or social function, what I would like to see is a marriage being between all involved. Under such a model, going from two people to three people would legally be a new marriage for all and requiring the consent of all, even if two of the people don’t personally consider themselves married to each other, only to the third person. Likewise, if one person wanted to leave, they could, and the remaining two would legally begin a new marriage at that moment. What is important is consent. If one person (A) no longer wants to be legally married to one of the other spouses (C), either A convinces C to leave, or convinces B (and D, if there is a D), and A and B (and perhaps D) leave C. Or, B (and/or D) can say no, and A is free to either stay and bite the bullet, or leave alone or with B or D. Adults can make these choices without having someone else tell them they can’t have any choice in the first place.

Who would get custody of the children, and how would custody battles be approached?

The same exact way they are now. Custody would be determined based on the needs of the child and the lives of the parents. This would be aided by who is named on the child’s birth certificate.

Those who wish to set up more complex domestic relationships have access to existing contract and trust law, as well as other well-established areas of law.

This is the same thing said to same-sex couples as an excuse not to grant them the freedom to marry. If someone wants to marry, they shouldn’t be denied.

Hovde should respect and exercise her own intellectual abilities more than she has in this column.

Pot, meet kettle. Surely the letter writer is intelligent enough to see that the issues raise can deal with?
— — —

Making It Work

Joseph at Escape to Polygamy notes the increasing awareness of poly people and talks about “The Brutal, Honest, and Unforgiving Truth.”

[Years ago] of course the media would focus hard on any negative they could find (and rightly so). Yet the negatives they could find were the exact same abuses that occur without bounds in "monogamous" relationships.

Agreed. A criticism of polyamory by someone promoting monogamy should never cite something in polyamorous relationships that is commonly found in relatioships with people who profess to be monogamous.

Today, the media is switching positions and there are many articles and reports in favour of adult, consensual polygamous relationships, which is a great thing.

Yes it is.

Yet there is still a silly, yet disturbing, propaganda being spread by both those who claim to be supporters of the poly lifestyle and those who claim to be living it, as well as warnings against living it by those who are in opposition.

A well meaning group trying to warn others considering this lifestyle, that it is not all a bed of roses. And this is of course true. But once again, the focus is on the polygamous lifestyle, as if it were any different from the "monogamous" lifestyle is absurd. The same personality quirks exist in polygamous unions, as they do in all other areas of life.

Some of the Brutal, Honest, and Unforgiving truths that are being touted are things like jealousy, coveting, control, territory, bullying, dominance, abuse, legal spouse, legal ownership, life insurance, medical care, etc, etc. These are just some of the "brutal truths" that we are warned against in polygamous unions.

These do sound a lot like the issues faced in monogamous relationships. They might pop up in any relationship.

As adults we enter the workforce, or marry, and still need to get along and work things out in our own circle of influence. This is no different in a polygamous union. If there is a jealousy issue, then work it out. Stop being a prissy little brat.

Read the whole thing for a lot of practical advice.
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Adult Media Under Fire

This blog makes a clear distinction between rape and other forms of abuse, especially the abuse of minors, and loving, consensual sex (mosty between adults). I like to include links to resources for people looking for more information about preventing and dealing with child abuse. This blog also makes a distinction between media made by and enjoyed by adults, and media made through the abuse of children to perpetuate the abuse of children. Just as this blog condemns rape and abuse, this blog condemns such material.

At We Are Adult Survivors of Child Abuse and Neglect, which is a webite I think can be much help for a lot of people, I found something written by Diane that attacks telecom companies, hotel companies, and credit card companies for allowing people to enjoy sex-positive media. I had to write my objections to Diane's commentary.

The porn industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.

That means a lot of people like it. It isn’t for everyone, of course. But some people can’t seem to grasp the idea that not everything has to be enjoyed by everyone to be available. If you don't like, don't watch it. You don't have to make stuff up about how bad it is for those who do watch it, which is what Diane (or her source), does.

Here are some of the common, but false messages sanctioned by these providers:

Sex with anyone, under any circumstances, any way it is desired, is beneficial and does not have negative consequences.

Ever hear of fantasy? I mean really. Jason Borne films promote the idea that I can us a rolled up magazine to successful fight off someone who is trying to kill me. Fantasy is often about things we can’t actually have or do in life. Ever hear of fairy tales?

Women have one value – to meet the sexual demands of men.

Asserting this doesn’t make it true, any more than saying soap operas promote the idea that men have one value; to meet the financial and romantic demands of women.

Marriage and children are obstacles to sexual fulfillment.

Sometimes, for a great many people, this is true, especially when talking about monogamous heterosexual marriage, epecially when those marriages are not really monogamous because no sex is taking place. Not everyone is cut out for heterosexuality or monogamy; some people aren’t cut out to have any partner, or not cut out to live with a partner. To these people, monogamous heterosexual marriage is an obstacle to fulfillment.

As far as children; they’re great. Children are wonderful. But even the happiest parents will admit that having and raising children greatly limited their sex lives. Raising children takes a lot of energy and time, and takes a certain kind of household. Spontaneous sex and sex in other rooms than the bedroom becomes more difficult when where are children in the home. It takes at least 18 years for the children to be raised at out of the home. That’s a long time.

In Linda’s case, having children has turned out bring her sexual fulfillment. But it took a couple of decades, and I don't think it is what Diane had in mind.

Everyone is involved in promiscuous sexual activity and infidelity.

Again the Jason Bourne movies teach that everyone is an assassin.

So again, what was the problem?

The Department of Justice said, “Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.” And that was stated 14 years ago. It is only getting worse.

Yes, communications advancements make all media much more accessible, including educational media and religious media. But there are many controls parents can use; more than when that repot was written. We can’t structure our society based on the idea that children are going to do/access everything that exists. For example, there are more automobiles now than there ever were before, so it is easier for children to climb into one and take a deadly joyride. Is that a good argument against cars?

One of the major concerns is, like I stated in The Media’s Sex Education Campaign, that millions of children who are sexually abused every day, millions of women who are raped every day, and the brutality of domestic violence occurring all around us, doesn’t mean a thing to these media executives.

How does that follow? These terrible things were going on long before cinema and photography. At least one study links adult entertainment with a reduction in rape.

Has anyone ever heard of personal accountability? Let’s blame rapists for rape, not entertainment producers. Let's blame child abusers for child abuse, not a DVD.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Happy, Functioning Family

Due to the polygamy trial in Canada, news sources are looking to have articles about poly people. The more neutral and positive coverage there is, the better. Here’s an article from the Vancouver Sun on one happy poly family.

Zoe Duff is 50 years old and lives in Victoria in a relationship that she describes as a polyamorous triad.

She has two husbands.

"We are a stable and happy blended family," she says, describing Hawksworth, Weeds, her two youngest children and herself, who all live together.

"Each of the children has his own room. The members of our triad share one very large bed in one bedroom. ... We share all common areas and enjoy family times with the children as well as shared private times."

The household chores are shared and "we have a posted calendar in the kitchen and an online calendar where we keep track of everyone's work and school schedule and events. Dates with outside partners are posted to the online schedule for the adults to note."

The men are heterosexual. They have an open relationship…

Each of the triad members is free to have relationships outside. "These relationships may involve one, two or all three triad members. We generally inform each other of outside dating and seek approval of the others as a consideration."

Duff says they are open to adding others to their triad, "on an equal footing, but do not currently have the space or inclination."

"In general, my partners and I view one another as equals in all sense of rights and responsibility. ... Decisions affecting the family unit are discussed and decided by consensus of the adults with the weight of the final decision being on the person most affected or having been designated to act upon the decision."

She says the polygamy law "places us in a moral dilemma as parents who have raised children to be law-abiding citizens." It has meant their children have had difficult conversations with their friends and friends' parents about their family triad.

We also see this when it comes to same-sex marriage. Spouses and their children have a difficult time explaining to others what a “domestic partner” is. They should be able to be legally married.

Their children "love and respect us as parents and know that our relationship is supportive and loving, but we have trouble explaining why our breaking that law is fine but such things as underage drinking and recreational drug use have never been tolerated in or around our home."

Isn’t it time to end this second-class citizen stuff and let them have the freedom to marry?
— — —

The Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving Day is a huge holiday in the US, centered mainly around a special family meal. In case you haven't noticed, Americans like to eat a lot. It is always on a Thursday, with Friday typically being a holiday as well. It is considered the busiest travel time in the US. I’m not sure why it is busier than Christmas. Probably because a lot of people throw in New Year’s Eve/Day with Christmas and schools are out for at least two weeks (some for over a month.) So, the travel is spread out over a longer period of time when it comes to Christmas. In addition, with Christmas, gift-giving is a central tradition, and it is easier to stay home and ship presents. For Thanksgiving, people just bring themselves, any luggage they need, and perhaps a dish or two.

Because Thanksgiving is considered to specifically be about family togetherness, it can be a painful time for those who have been rejected by their family because of their sexual orientation or choice in patner(s). LGBT people, poly people, and those in consanguineous, intergenerational, or interracial relationships are reminded every year that even their own family hates them.

Some people make the best of this and plan a Thanksgiving meal with friends. I throw out a special “good for you” to anyone who hosts such a meal this holiday. Keep up the good work. I think such gatherings are much more enjoyable anyway.

But I also have words for anyone who has driven away or banned someone in their family because of that other family member’s orientation or partner(s): Shame on you. You don’t have to like your family member’s sexuality or how they live. But you should reach out to them and support them instead of driving them away. Every person at that table does things you don’t like. Why single out a family member for punishment because of who they love? If your family member has a partner whose family is more accepting, guess who is going to win? Guess who is going to get to play with the grandkids/nieces/nephews? Not you.

If you can’t go “home” for Thanksiving and you are feeling down and you haven’t managed to make plans with friends, consider hosting your own Thanksgiving and invite some friends. Or, volunteer at a homeless shelter or some other charity location that will be helping people on Thursday. Don’t allow depression to take hold. You can find a place where you will be welcomed.

Recently I thanked the advice maven “Dear Margo.” Here’s something from her cousin, “Dear Abby,” about bigotry raising tensions at Thanksgiving. Someone from Jacksonville wrote…

For the past few holidays we have had to accept the fact that my sister-in-law was bringing her husband and her boyfriend to family holiday dinners.

Is he really just a boyfriend, or does this person simply refuse to use the term “husband?”

Last year we protested, saying it was ridiculous and that we wouldn't come. (We don't want our kids thinking this is appropriate.)

It is not appropriate for consenting adults to be happy with each other?

We relented when my mother-in-law said we were being unreasonable because the husband and boyfriend are OK with the situation.

The mother-in-law sounds like a great woman. More people should follow her example and be kind.

We have ended up going in the past, but Thanksgiving is nearly here again and we're not "thankful" for this arrangement. How do you think we should handle this?

The writer doesn’t have to be thankful for that relationhip. The writer can have his or her own relationships, or not. The writer should go and be kind. What could be the harm? The writer can explain their views to their own children. The children will probably see for themselves, though, that there’s nothing wrong.

Dear Abby disappointed me with her response…

If your children are small, they will accept the "odd" man at the table as simply a good friend of their aunt and uncle, so I see no reason why you shouldn't join the family unless you personally dislike the man.

However, if your children are old enough to understand that there is something romantic going on, make other plans for the holidays. To do otherwise would make it appear that you approve of what's going on, which you do not.

Really, Abby? Do you really think that when a teenaged boy has his girlfriend there, that everyone else there approves of the fact that they are having sex? Or when an adult brings one partner they are dating? The writer can continue to be a bigot even if he or she goes. Nobody is going to have sex in front of the kids. Then again, if the bigots in the family are the kind of people who can’t keep their mouths shut, maybe the rest of the family will be even happier if they decide to stay away.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Linda, Melissa, and Matthew. I’m also thankful for everyone who is moving forward the right for all adults to love, sex, and marriage.

What are you thankful for? Can you go home for Thanksiving? Do you host?
— — —

Time For the Canadian Poly Trial

Today is the day that arguments begin in the Canadia polygamy case. There has already been much media coverage. A good place to keep track of what is going on is this blog in my blogroll, which does a good job of following stories on polyamory that appear in the wider media.

From that blog

On Monday morning November 22nd, arguments will begin in a Vancouver courtroom to test the legality of Canada's 120-year old anti-polygamy and anti-polyamory law.

The law, written against Mormons in 1890, has apparently not been enforced in a lifetime and seems to conflict with Canada's newer Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now authorities are forcing the issue, following allegations that Mormon polygamist leaders are abusing women and minors in a fundamentalist sect in Bountiful, British Columbia.

Go after those who assault others. Let adults have whatever kind of marriage they want.

Polyamorists have a dog in this fight because the Canadian law is written so broadly that it includes them too, even if they make no claim to have more than one marriage — and even, the law states, if they never have sex. The offense consists merely of more than two people pledging a bond or loyalty among themselves, even informally, that could be considered "any kind of conjugal union."


From Introspection of a Plural Wife (at Heart)…

This 93-page affidavit by Jonathan Turley is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated by the legal arguments surrounding polygamy, polygyny, polyandry, polyamory. This affidavit was filed in the Canadian Polygamy Case that is set to begin November 22, 2010.

Canada was right to give (some) same-sex couples the freedom to marry. It needs to move forward towards full marriage equality, so that all couples, triads, quads, etc. can get married regardless of gender or relation. Let’s see if this trial goes the right way.
— — —

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coming Out to Respect Makes Life Better For All

I really need to catch up on my reading. I was going through some stuff from October and there were a couple of entries on Polly’s blog I wanted to point out. She’s polyamorous, having two husbands, and she’s a mother. She has a very good blog talking about these subjects.

Because of other changes in her life, she decided to come out to more people on National Coming Out Day. She had already been out to close friends and family, but she decided to come out of the closet on Facebook.

Truthfully, I was crying a little bit as I described what I expected to Stuart: I expected to have a number of people defriend me (especially my old Mormon friends from my growing up years). I expected to have some nasty messages; perhaps something reminiscent of my mother-in-law's horrible e-mails. I didn't know if people would freak out, or what. We came to the conclusion that the peace of mind was worth the risks.

So she posted this…

"Today is National Coming Out Day. I am bi (although I "pass" since I am happily married to a man). I am also poly - I have two adult partners, both of whom I love dearly (and love each other dearly) and want to be with forever. Poly does not mean "any," and yes, my parents know. :) I share this because I want to help make a society with zero tolerance for hate against non-mainstream identities and relationships."

Go see what the reaction was.

In a subsequent entry, she talked more about how one husband’s father, who is transgendered, continues to show a lack of solidarity, and how it got her to thinking about whether or not polyamory is a choice and whether or not that even matters.

There are many people out there who get obsessed by whether polyamory is more "evolved" or somehow superior to monogamy. They cite that only 15% of all cultures in the world are monogamous, or that monogamy occurs only very rarely in the animal world. A lot of time and energy is spent on determining whether polygamy and polyamory are something that is "natural," or whether monogamy is the default paradigm. In other words, they want to know if it's a choice. While it's an interesting intellectual exercise, I really don't think it matters if monogamy or polyamory is more biologically prevalent. What matters is what makes you happy and healthy and sane!

I am much happier as a poly person than I am as a monogamous person. The idea of giving up either of my guys makes me ill. It would be like being asked to cut a piece of my own heart out. I believe that I am at least somewhat "wired" for polyamory. I function better with two partners than I do with one. My family is happy and our children are healthy and cared for. In addition - my husband has known about me being poly for longer than *I've* known it. This didn't just crop up when I found my extra partner. We went in with our eyes wide open, and with a lot of consideration and emotional experience.

In addition to compassion and respect, why should others support this freedom?

Also, I guarantee that I am a more productive and useful citizen and worker when I feel that I am welcomed, cared about, and respected. Me being treated as someone who is unworthy or immoral may feed someone else's superiority complex, but it certainly isn't going to help me produce the best neuroscience research I am capable of. Employers may wish to consider that happy employees are the ones most likely to produce great results. I felt like I could tackle anything when my department chair approved of my coming out. It may seem like a small thing, but it meant a lot to me.

Conversely, bigotry harms.

Choice only matters when that choice has the potential to harm others. And while Stuart's mom contends that our family will be harmed by poly - we have yet to see anything but greater love and happiness. She hadn't come up with any specifics on what she believes the harm would actually be, after many months of being asked. And now, we have no contact with her at all. Our family suffered a loss of a mother and grandmother, but it was intolerance that caused the harm, not poly. By insisting that the only right path was her own, she caused the very pain she had hoped to avoid.

Yes. Isn’t it interesting that some people say the relationships that others have are harmful, but the harm seems to be due to the prejudice and bigotry of the people who disrespect the relationships? It’s self-fulfilling. Drop the hate, and everyone is better off.
— — —

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Freedom to Marry Includes the Freedom to Divorce

The right to marry must have with it the freedom to divorce, because consent should be at the heart of full marriage equality. Those who want to deny marriage equality will often claim that polygyny oppresses women. However, in Qatar, polygyny rates are apparently declining as some women choose divorce when their husband wants to take on another wife. No marriage construct is right for everyone, and if these women prefer to be unmarried rather than to go from a monogamous relationship into a polygynous one, they are free to leave, and some do.

According to the study conducted by the Qatar Statistics Authority, the percentage of Qatari men taking second wives has dropped from 6.6% to 4% which is seen as an indication of the decline of polygamy in Qatar as well as in the Gulf region in general.

Just as consent is at the heart of marriage equality, gender equality is important to consent.

Financial independence is seen as one of the factors that contributed to the decline of polygamy.

“Qatari women are no longer dependent on men,” said Abeer, a student. “In the past, only men worked so women did not object when their husbands remarried.”

For Abeer, the decline in polygamy was not only a sign of development for women, but also for men.

“The fact that men are not taking second wives show that they are more focused on their work and are becoming more productive instead of only caring about their personal pleasure.”

It could be that they care more about material gain than personal relationships.

While the drop in polygamy is seen as healthy, several researchers find it detrimental to the well being of society. For researcher Ibrahim Gomaa, when men started having only one wife, the number of single women has remarkably increased.

“The Qatari society did not suffer the problem of spinsterhood before,” he said. “Now this problem will be magnified as polygamy drops especially that the Qatari society is small and conservative.”
— — —

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Women Will Push For Polygyny?

Polygyny (multiple wives) is just one form of polygamy, but you wouldn’t know that from reading some recent write-ups about polygamy, which argue that polygamy (polygyny, really) is financially beneficial to women. After nothing HBO’s Big Love and TLC’s Sister Wives, Douglas French writes

And just this past week, the Salt Lake Tribune had an obituary for Naomi Naylor, who passed away on November 2nd. Significantly, the obit, referenced “sisterwife Nellie” who preceded Ms. Naylor in death.

My sources in Salt Lake City don’t remember ever seeing an obituary making such a reference.

Then he goes on to write…

Legalizing polygamy, economist David Friedman wrote in his book Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life, “allows some men who before wanted one wife to try to marry two instead - provided that they are willing to offer terms at which potential wives are willing to accept half a husband apiece. So the demand curve for wives shifts out. The supply curve stays the same, the demand curve shifts out, so the price must go up. Women are better off.”

In addition to economics, women (and people in general) are better off when they have the freedom to make more choices about something that is so important in their life. If a woman wants to be one of several wives to a man, then how is it better to tell her she can’t have that freedom to marry? Most people know what is better for themselves than people who don’t know them.

Just as it is impossible to police the prohibition of pot, it seems the same goes for polygamy.

Although it is all too easy for the government to withhold legal recognition for marriages, it is indeed very difficult for a government to stop people from having the relationships they want in the sense of being together. It is a waste ot resources to try.

That blog was referenced by this blog to help make a case that women will support legalizing polygamy.

It's very hard to argue with the economic law of supply and demand. And the flipside of that is the recognition that most men will be worse off, with the obvious exception of those sufficiently rich and powerful enough to both support and attract multiple wives.

Is I’ve pointed out many times before, this makes the assumption that if someone can’t marry the person they really want, they will definitely marry someone else. So that a woman who would, if free to marry into an exsiting man-woman couple will, because of a lack of the freedom to marry, settle for an unmarried man she really didn’t want in the first place. Perhaps some people make such important decisions that way, but I can’t imagine many people do. “John’s married. Guess I’ll have to marry Fred instead.” If John and his wife are agreeable to letting someone else join them, why should we try force that person settle for Fred?

Also, full marriage equality would allow several men and one woman to be married.

Given that the general trend of American society is already in motion towards the economic benefit of women in general and elite men in particular, the fact that legalized polygamy fits squarely upon this progressive trend line would appear to make it all but a done deal, especially if one takes into account the decline of traditionally monogamous Christian culture and its replacement by various pagan cultures that range from openly polygamous African and Arabic immigrant cultures to the practical polygamy of the secular divorce culture in which men financially support multiple wives and families while limiting their sexual involvement to the latest wife.

Keep in mind that from both practical and sociological perspectives, the legal status of a woman as an "ex-wife" rather than a "wife" is largely beside the point so long as the man is still responsible for being the primary provider for the familial unit.

I do not badmouth monogamy, but the claim some make that monogamy is the norm and is right for everyone is laughable, given all of the sex that takes place outside of marriage, including encounters that involve at least one married person, and the high divorce rate. A very small minority of the population has one and only one sex partner over the course of their entire lifetime. If that is what they wanted, then good for them. But to pretend that the freedom to have legal polygamy would upset our social order is folly. If anything, it may improve our social order.

The question ultimately boils down to whether women of the politically active sort would prefer half of Prince Charming's castle to the entirety of a woodcutter's cottage.

And some people marry for other reasons than just money.
— — —

Not Her Cup of Tea

Elizabeth McQuillan was considering writing some erotic fiction, so she decided to do some research. She found a website that, from her description, I think I recognize. If it is the one I'm thinking of, it is a great website where adults write about adults having consensual sex, even beautiful romances. But McQuillan was disturbed by what she found.

I have to confess it was extremely alarming, and this is where I went into full reverse. What seemed like a fun idea and bit of a laugh over a glass of vino was clearly something much darker, and clarified for me that this is an area of writing that I wont be embracing.

What? What could it be? What horrors did she find?

Taking pride of place in the top 10 to 20 places in the “most popular stories” list, with each having tens of thousands (the very top stories getting hundreds of thousands) of hits, were stories featuring incest. These were stories involving fathers, uncles, mothers, sons, brothers, sisters and entire families having lusty interactions.

That’s it? Erotic fiction about consenting adults who love each other espressing that love in physical ways? That is so disturbing?

Am I just naive here? I thought incest was the ultimate taboo, reviled by the majority and possibly only ever practised in rare cases where children are unfortunate enough to be born into an abusive household? But the popularity of these stories show an interest on the subject matter on a huge and unhealthy scale.

A lot of people are interested. Some have personal experiences. How is it unhealthy, or any more unhealthy than a tale of two strangers having a one night stand?

Authors call themselves giveaway names such as Daddy’s Candy, where we can guess at the sort who might be harbouring these fantasies but it was the number of apparently female contributors that I found most shocking.

Women enjoy sex, too. Some enjoy writing about it and reading about it.

Are there a lot of people out there who are actually yearning to bed-hop with their parents, children and siblings?

There are a lot of people who want to make love with a family member or have already done so. Some are interested in bed-hopping, as she put it. Others are interested in or have had long monogamous or polyfidelity romances with family members. Some people just want to write or read about these things, not actually do them. I’m still waiting for what the problem is here.

It is concerning that the high level of interest in this sort of material may be closely related to sexual abuse in children.

The site I’m thinking of only has stories where every character is eighteen years of age or older. She might as well argue that erotica causes rape in general.

Victims often know and trust their abusers, and if they grow up in an environment where sexual relations with family members are treated as the norm from an early age, it might take some time for a child to realise they are a victim.

Unfortunately, child abusers are going to do their evil with or without erotica. But if your point is that a child knowing that dad and mom have a thing going with mom’s sister is going to make the child easier to abuse, then I guess we can’t have adults drinking, or driving (sober), or anything else that kids shouldn’t do.

She then wrote more about child abuse, even though she never demonstrated a possible connection with erotica about consenting adults. Perhaps she needs to think through the matter and get over the knee-jerk reaction that incest only means "child sexual abuse by family members." Incest can mean consensual sex between adults who never regret it.

Where sexual abuse is known to have occurred within the family, the most common perpetrator was a brother, or stepbrother:

Children are more likely to be kidnapped by someone they know than a stranger. A grown woman is more likely to be raped by someone she knows rather than a complete stranger in a dark alley. So what? Cbild abusers, kidnappers, and rapists should all be sent to prison, whether or not they are related to the victim.

What started out as an innocent foray into the possibility of writing erotic fiction, instead opened a can of worms. The overwhelming preference for incest as a subject matter clearly demonstrates what is sexually exciting great numbers of people, and the repercussions of this are very worrying.

She never explains what the problem is when consenting adults who are related enjoy sex together, let alone what the problem is that people write and read fictional erotica on the subject. That she isn’t into such things or isen repulsed by the idea doesn’t mean there’s a problem. Maybe the popularity of that niche is yet another reminder that laws that try to punish people for consanguineous sex need to be repealed, and more people would support that.
— — —

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is Sweden Progressive or Not?

I thought Sweden was more advanced than this, seeing as how they will allow half-siblings to marry, though only with government approval. But here I found this article from back in March, where consenting adults were being prosecuted for having sex just because they’re siblings.

A pair of siblings in Kalmar in south east Sweden have been charged with incest and risk facing up to a year each in prison if found guilty.

A year in prison? And who was the victim of this “crime?”

The pair, both in their twenties, live very close to each other but in separate apartments, according to local newspaper Östra Småland.

They’re consenting adults.

Neither party is believed to have been subjected to coercion or violence, but as sex between siblings is illegal both could face time in jail.

It was consensual. Why prosecute? Why is there a law against this?

I was unable to find an update, so I don’t know what has happened since that article was published. If you have an update, please let me know.
— — —

Kristilyn Smith Convicted of a Crime For Consensual Sex

To update a situation I last wrote about here, an adult woman plead no contest to charge of incest for having consensual sex with her father. At least she was given five years probation instead of prison time. The charge should have been dropped anyway. There were apparently crimes in this case. Consensual sex between adults shouldn’t have been the problem.

Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of child neglect and a second count of incest against Kristilyn Smith, 27, of Daytona Beach, bringing to an end the criminal cases against her. Circuit Judge Kim C. Hammond found Smith guilty of the remaining incest charge.

Judge Hammond, didn’t you feel silly convicting someone of a crime for having sex wth another adult?

The Flagler term of probation will run concurrent with 15 years' probation Smith received in August in Volusia County on another incest charge.

Earlier this year, her father, Alton E. Smith Jr., 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of incest, one count of living off the earnings of prostitution and 52 counts of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by 15 years' sex-offender probation and will be required to register as a sex offender.

He should have gone away for at least that long just for the child porn.

He is also barred from having contact with his daughter or wife.

Ridiculous. I can see denying him contact to his son (he had with Kristilyn) until the son is an adult and can make up his own mind, but as for contact with his wife or Kristilyn, either we have freedom of association or we don’t. Either consensual sex between adults is not a criminal matter, or it is. It is time to consistent.

Also earlier this year, Tina Marie Smith, 45, who is Alton Smith's wife and Kristilyn Smith's stepmother, pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse and was sentenced to 10 years' sex-offender probation. She will not be listed as a sex offender.

Throw the book at people who molest children. Don’t bother trying to stop consenting adults from sex or love with each other. Let’s remove incest laws or change them so they reinforce laws against rape and child molestation, not to consensual sex.
— — —

Still Looking For a Reason to Deny Equality

Not sure how this was on topic to the URL where I found it, but someone asked

If marriage is to be defined as a between ”two consenting adults”, should a man be allowed to mary his brother?

Yes. But we should not limit marriage to two people.

And if he is allowed to marry his brother, why not his sister?

He should be allowed to do that, too.

We can say that that union carries a high risk of birth defects but are we going to start denying people the right to marry simply because their children have a higher risk of congenital disease? ”Sorry ma’am, you can’t marry because you have a family history of breast cancer.”

Good point.

Is there a line to be drawn or should all consenting adults be allowed to marry whomever they choose?

Consenting adults should be the line (or, minors who are liberated and consenting – say, one is 17, the other is 16, etc.).

The responses…

I’m against polygamous marriages being legally recognized though because it would create a legal fiasco.

It doesn’t have to. Take, for example, who gets to make medical decisions should a spouse be in a coma. There are legal documents for that.

Another comment, and it was a good one…

I agree wholeheartedly. Consenting adults should be able to do what they want to, period- even if incest tends to make most of us shudder and go ”Ewww.”. ”Ewww” does not stand up in court, and hell, ”ewww” used to be- and still is- something that people use to justify their bigotry and denial of rights to gay people.

Get over the fact that *you* wouldn’t practice incest, and start giving people the right to make that choice for themselves.

And yes, you’re right about the whole birth defect thing. Individuals with Huntingson’s Disease have a 50% chance of passing the gene down to their children- just as much as that of close relatives who breed together, and much more than that of less close relatives. We don’t ban people with Huntingson’s Disease from reproducing, so why are we stopping incestuous couples?

Thank you!

Another from someone who does not express solidarity…

Beyond that I think you have to start providing actual examples of real people who are (1) emotionally and intellectually healthy and (2) want ”unconventional” marriage arrangements before people like me are going to take your objections seriously as a matter of law.

You have a long list of people like me who have have been in a stable, same sex relationship for much longer than 2 out of 7 celebrity marriages (I’ve been with my partner for 19 years this month) who will get real legal and civil benefits from recognizing our relationship for what it is.

While there is still a lot of bigotry and some hate crimes out there, in many places in the US, gays and lesbians and same-sex relationship have aggressive protections under the law and full acceptance. Not so for poly people or people in consanguineous relationships, who in many more places can suffer hate crimes, loss of job, loss of child custody, even criminal prosecution. It is hard to line people up to come out of closet under such circumstances. Show some compassion and get some solidarity for people who haven't had their Lawrence yet.

Another comment…

the only reason people get married is to make a statement that they’re in love with their spouse and their love is pure. people are way to caught up in other peoples lives, why does the world have to be so shallow? if you feel most in love and safest with your brother than why should we (the people who don’t even know you) be able to tell you that you’re wrong, perverted or’s just sickening.

I appreciate the support, but telling someone you don’t approve of or like their relationship is one thing. Denying them the freedom to that relationship is another. People should be free to express themselves, even if they are rude or don't know what they're talking about. But likewise, people should be free to love the person or person(s) they choose.

I’m still waiting for a good reason to deny full marriage equality. Ignorance, myths, and prejudices abound, but where is the reason? Maybe the bigots should give up and let people be happy.
— — —

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Polyamory on Yahoo Answers

Someone asked on Yahoo Answers

What does everyone think about polyamory?

Let's see how the responses turned out.

One response was typical of the prejudiced…

sounds like an excuse for being sIutamory.

This is ignorance and bigotry. Assuming this person means “having multiple sex partners,” there are poly people who, over the course of their lives, have many fewer sex partners than some people who don’t identify as polyamorous. A person can be poly and have just two sex partners for an entire life, or even just one sex partner and someone else with whom he or she has nonsexual intimacy. But the number of sex partners someone has is nobody else’s business.

Another response…

I've researched it. Not my cup of tea. However, what legal consenting adults choose to do is their business. Depending on the functionality and healthiness of the adults depends on how healthy the children will turn out.

Thank you!


To each, their long as those involved in such a relationship are okay with it, then it's just as valid a way of life as monogamy...

Thank you, too!


I have no problem with polyamory. My problem is with those that engage in it and are derogatory towards my chosen lifestyle, monogamy.

Some poly people are. I’d say most aren’t.

Someone with experience added…

I think it's a wonderful idea, as long as you understand what you're getting into, and really do value love shared by many.


I can't understand how anyone can think its selfish or disgusting or ridiculous or the same as cheating, and I've yet to hear a convincing arguent.

Disgust is sometimes based on irrational feelings, not on reason. People are allowed their feelings. But they shouldn't use their disgust to deny equality.

We can both love another without diminishing our love for each other.

This is something some people deny, and yet they may insist that having more children hasn’t diminished the love for the children they had before. I respect someone who says it isn’t for them. What I do not respect is telling other people it can’t work them for them or shouldn’t be allowed.

If monogamy works for you, fine. It isn’t what everyone needs.

If being strictly heterosexual works for you, fine. It isn’t how everyone was born.

If you are disgusted by the idea of consenting adults who are different races loving each other, then you’re free to only love people of your own race.

If you are disgusted by the idea of consenting adults cousins or closer relatives loving each other, then you’re free not to have a consanguineous relationship.

But respect and support the rights of others to love as they do.
— — —

Thank You, Dear Margo

Old fogies, and perhaps people who aren’t so old, may remember advice columnist Ann Landers. These days, her daughter Margo Howard has a column, “Dear Margo.” This one contains a reminder of the importance of solidarity. Elizabeth wrote…

As a bi woman, I’ve encountered prejudice from homosexuals and heterosexuals.

I was startled and hurt the first time I heard a rant against bisexuality from a lesbian (on a gay and lesbian radio program, no less). Although there is less hostility now, the ugly misconceptions just do not seem to falter.

Unfortunately, prejudice abounds, perpetuated even by people who experience it themselves. There are monogamous heterosexual people who dismiss any other orientation, dismiss polyamory, and consanguineous love. There are lesbians who dismiss heterosexuals, bisexuals, and even gay men, and gay men who dismiss everyone else. There are people experiencing GSA-fueled consanguineous relationships who condemn, say, sibling couples who grew up together. And yes, there are gay men, lesbians, and heterosexuals who ridicule bisexuals. It is really sad. On the bright side, in every sense of that phrase, there are allies, including monogamous heterosexuals who support full marriage equality.

The harder society makes it for people to acknowledge their non-heterosexuality, the more desperate people there will be.

Agreed. So many problems experienced by those who don't have the freedom to marry is caused not by their relationships or orientation, but by the biogtry of others. We should all support the right of consenting adults to love, sex, and marriage, even if we don’t understand why they are attracted to the person(s) to whom they are attracted.

Do you see an end to all this commotion about people’s sexuality?

We’re making progress. Hang in there, Elizabeth.

Margo says…

Me, I’m for "live and let live."

Doesn’t that make sense?
— — —

Fall of Reynolds Looks at Attacks on Polygamy

The Fall of Reynolds, which is dedicated to overturning the 1879 US court decision banning polygamy, is following what’s going on in the Canadian courts, and counters the usual attacks on polygamy. Here is just a taste.

The rather amateurish lawyers and advocates who are crying for the preservation of Canada's anti-polygamy law (S.293) have a similarly steep hill to climb. It appears they have two possible angles of attack when challenging the practice of polygamy:

1. Attack the individuals who are and have been polygamists.
2. Attack the concept of polygamy.

Let's look at the first one. I know some very bad polygamist people. I know some very bad monogamist people. I know some very bad homosexual people. I know some very bad single people. Perhaps we should ban polygamy, monogamy, homosexuality, and celibacy, then there would be no bad people anymore. Just because a polygamous guy raped his ten-year-old daughter (this is a hypothetical) last year, should we say that empirical and anecdotal data demonstrate that polygamists are child-molesters?

It is guilt-by-association. It might make for interesting news, but it shouldn’t prevent marriage equality.

About the second angle, the writer says…

You have to seriously want to distort truth in order to seize control over other people's lives. You have to believe that you know best how to run other people's families.

That is what antiequality people think. They think they know what is best for everyone, and they want to punish people who don’t choose the same way that they choose.

Don’t deny the freedom to marry to any consenting adults. Support full marriage equality.
— — —

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update on Maura and James

A comment on a previous update on Maura and James prompted me to check to see what the latest news was about them. I found this article, complete with pictures blurred to protect their identities. They had their wedding, but were planning to leave Ireland.

But so determined are they to spend the rest of their lives together that they sealed their union during an intimate civil marriage ceremony last week.

And in a further twist, the couple, who discovered they were siblings after they conceived their first child, are expecting another baby.

But the pressures of the secret they have shared for years is forcing them to emigrate as they fear that if they remain living in Ireland it will only be a matter of time before the authorities become aware of their identities and prosecute them for being involved in an incestuous relationship.

I wonder if they’ve left yet, and how the baby is doing?

‘But I never had any second thoughts about going through with the wedding. A few weeks into our relationship I definitely knew that I wanted to marry James,’ says Maura.

May they have a long and happy life together, and may the laws catch up with the times and stop hindering consensual relationships.

Maura and James, if you find this blog, please contact me to let us know how you are doing. I’ll share anything you want me to share here, or if you’d rather not make more news I’ll keep the correspondence private.
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Teens in Love

A seventeen-year-old boy and a sixteen-year-old girl in Zimbabwe have fallen in love and are starting a family together. This made the news because they are half-siblings and were dragged into court.

I found this story over at Incest News.

The girl, who is now eight months pregnant, was however lucky to escape a jail sentence after the court warned, cautioned and discharged her while herco-accused will receive four strokes for the offence.

Four strokes? What, no burning at the stake?

The two were convicted on their own plea of guilty when they appeared before Western Commonage magistrate, Mr Shepherd Munjanja, for contravening section 75(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, having sexual intercourse within a prohibited degree of relationship.

Please Mr Shepherd Munjanja, how about not punishing people for being in love?

Mrs Fiona Denhere, for the State, told the court that the two were staying in their parents’ house and were related as half sister and half brother.
Sometime in 2008 the two got into a relationship after the boy proposed love to the half sister.

The girl, who was doing form two at a local school, is understood to have
accepted his proposal.

Please, Mrs Fiona Denhere, I'm sure there are people raping other people in your jurisdiction, and people molesting children. Don't waste time with consensual sex.

When asked by the court why they committed the offence the two shocked the court when they said they deeply loved each other.

Won't they all be better off if they can get married, rather than punishing them and denying them marriage equality?

Here's Saturn's coverage at Incest News.

Liz Smith had a good comment...

It's simple - If they deeply love each other that much, they should be allowed to be together, especially if the sister is pregnant. These rules against consensual incest need to be removed.

That would be the fair thing to do. Consanguineous love should not be a crime, if it is a matter of consent. These two were young, but they were close enough in age.
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Relationship Diversity

At Asexual Curiosities, SlightlyMetaphysical wrote something that rang true with me

I think polyamory and aromance have a lot to offer each other. And not in a theoretical, we can both learn things, kinda way. In a practical, “Hey, Poly, wanna hook up?” “Sure, Asexy, prepare to be cuddled harder than ever before” kinda way.

It seemed weird to me, first pondering this, that the answer to ‘I can’t have one romantic relationship’ would be ‘have several’. But there’s two very important points about polyamorous people.

Firstly, as a group, they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about relationships, figuring out why the relationship structure they saw around them didn’t work for them. They’re going to sympathise, if you can spin it right.

Secondly, they’re less keen on this idea that intimacy has to look a certain way, and all come from the same person. That means you’re more likely to get a tailor-made relationship with exactly the kind of intimacies you both want, and both of you having the freedom to look elsewhere to fulfil your remaining intimacies.

Friendships and romances can both be widely varied and may overlap. It is absurd that we have laws and toxic cultural restrictions that try to force everyone into the same mold. Let people find what they need, and don’t try to take it away from them.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Revisiting Terminology

Civil rights groups are rightly concerned about the use of “gay” as a derogatory term, such as “That’s so gay.” I agree that they are right in asking people to be more thoughtful about what impact they are having on others.

What I’ve also noticed is the use of “incestuous” when trying to convey that a relationship or subculture is not healthy. For example, “The incestuous relationship between the government and defense contractors.” I’d like to think that civil rights groups would be just as concerned about that as they are about “gay,” but I won’t hold my breath for that level of solidarity to happen soon. I’d also like to think that if civil rights groups did show that level of solidarity, people would respond well, but I know that is unlikely for the time being.

There are good incestuous relationships, but in the minds of too many, they associate the term with abuse or rape.

There isn’t the same connotation or reaction with the term “consanguineous,” who while the LGBT community can use “gay” and successfully urge people not to use the term as a negative, people in consensual incestuous relationships should stick to referring to their relationships as consanguineous.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Anitequality in Canada

The Edmonton Journal printed a letter back in October from anti-equality Nancy Mereska, who wants to deny poly people the freedom to marry.

Polygamy fosters tribalism.

This is an assertion with no basis in fact. Modern polygamy can actually speed the intregration of society. Even in ancient times, it was a way that royalty fostered ties between countries.

It creates bands of rogue young men who, denied of a wife, form angry gangs of ill repute, gangs that feed on the thoughts of war, not peace.

If a man is likely to be the type of person who would join such a gang and do such things, no wonder a woman or another man wouldn’t choose to marry him. People should be free to choose their spouses, even if that spouse will have another spouse. And a good spouse you share is better than one to yourself who is prone to criminality.

Tribalism leads to anarchy. Anarchy destroys a democratic society.

Where has polygamy ever led to anarchy? "it will lead to theocracy!" "It will lead to anarcy!" Make up your closed, narrow minds - which is it?

Just admit that you’re prejudiced and you want to impose your beliefs on others.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Mexico May Get Better For Same-Sex Couples

Almost a year ago, Mexico City started allowing most same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. Now the national House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to change social security rules to include medical and social benefits for same-sex couples. It still needs to get all the way through the legislative process (the Senate, etc.), and it wouldn’t be marriage, but it is a step in the direction of the freedom to marry for most same-sex couples.

Let’s keep the momentum moving in North America towards full marriage equality, so that any person will have the right to marry the person or person(s) of his or her choosing.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

It is Veterans Day in the US. Our military is still dealing with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prevents LGBT people who are open about their orientation from serving in the military. Court cases are going back and forth, but the expectation is that LGBT people will gain the right to serve openly, especially since the President is against DADT.

I can’t help but think of the men and women who risked their lives (and those who gave them) and endured so many things in service to their country, who haven’t been free to be who they really are and share their lives openly with the person or persons they love.

Shouldn’t someone who risked their life for this county be able to marry someone of the same sex, or more than one person, or a biological relative? Or at least share a life with the person(s) he or she loves without a fear that their own government will be against them? Is bravery and valor negated if a man loves another man, or his long lost sister?

Let’s thank our veterans, especially those who are still being treated as second class citizens.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sasha Smartt on Cheating, Open, and Poly Relationships

I’m against cheating, but I disagree that anything but complete monogamy is cheating. Different relationships can have different conditions based on the needs and boundaries of those in the relationship. Sasha Smartt wrote her thoughts.

I first learned about open/polyamorous relationships after a colleague from university suggested it to me.

Open relationships and polyamory are not synonymous although they are both nonmonagamous. Some poly relationships are polycules that are set and closed. Others are open, to a certain degree that varies from polycule to polycule. Likewise, some two-person relationships may be strictly monogamous, others might be open.

So, the question is, when someone, or a couple wants to get involved in an open relationship, is this really their way of legitimizing the infidelity?

The answer depeneds on your definition of infidelity. Some people find that there is more determination to care for and stay with their primary if the relationship is open or polyamorous, and everything is honest and consenting. Couldn’t that be considered a better example of fidelity than divorce or abandonment? They are being faithful to the promises they make to each other.

Many people try to justify why they may cheat or have extra marital affairs. Others wish to find a way to legitimize the affair(s).

People in open or poly relationships are honest with themselves and each other. It becomes cheating when they start keeping some things secret in violation of agreements.

Traditionally, a marriage is to be a monogamous union between man and woman.

Actually, there is a lot of tradition of polygamy, especially polygyny, and how many supposedly monogamous relationships really have been monogamous, between the secret affairs and one night stands and prostitution (cheating), swapping, swinging, threesomes, group sex, concubines, etc.?

Polygamy and polyamory were, and still are, frowned upon, except in societies, like in Islamic cultures, where religion allows a man to have many wives.

There still is a lot of prejudice, but that can be changed. One of the ways it can be changed is if people stop wrongly thinking of honest, consensual polyamory and open relationships as cheating.
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Husband and Wife Persecuted in Zimbabwe

A man and woman who have been living as a married couple and have five children together were criminally prosecuted in Zimbabwe. Why? Because they have the same mother. Don’t the authorities have better things to do than interefere in the love lives of people? At least they weren’t sentenced to prison.

The two “love birds” who shared the same mother but have different fathers were staying with their mother when they fell in love. This incident was heard on the appearance of Vusa Moyo and his half sister Makadi Moyo who were convicted on their own plea of guilty when they appeared before Plumtree magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira, for contravening section 75 (11)(c ) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, having sexual intercourse within a prohibited degree of relationship.

That law should be changed so as to not apply to consensual sex.

Mr Paul Mpofu, for the State, told the court that in 1990 Vusa and Makadi started staying together while in the custody of their mother Siphameso Moyo in Plumtree.

In a period unknown to the prosecutor but in 1997 the two fell in love and had sexual intercourse several times up to the day they were arrested.

It is understood the two were now staying as wife and husband in their mother’s homestead and through this incestuous relationship the “couple” had five children.

What with the scare quotes in this article? They are a couple. They are love birds. Isn’t that obvious?

On 29 September this year police received a tip-off from members of the public about this bizarre affair and carried out some investigations before arresting them and subsequently taking them to court where they admitted the offence.

Bizarre? Love is not bizarre. Everyone involved in their prosecution should be ashamed of themselves, including the blabbermouth who turned them in instead of minding his or her own business. The person was probably jealous.

Asked by the court why they had committed the offence the woman said that she did not know it was an offence.

The real offence is how offensive it is that they were prosecuted intead of offered legal recognition of their marriage.

However the man had a different reason altogether and told the court he had fallen in love his half sister.

He added that he had the right to marry his half sister as she was no longer her relative arguing that they had cut off the relationship through traditional means.

I noticed that even this biased news article can’t point out any harm that has resulted from this marrage.

In the end, this magistrate essentially berated them for being in love and sharing a life together, but saw that sticking them in jail would only hurt their children.

Enough with this sort of thing. People have a right to love, sex, and marriage, and the laws need to catch up to that.
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Two Wives Blogger Dislikes the Closet

He writes…

I am so tired of hearing the screaming against gay marriage. Polyamorous marriage is as forbidden, even more forbidden than same sex marriage now that in some states gay marriage is legal. I want to be openly and honestly married to Wife #2, but I can’t. I have to hide the truth of our relationship from friends, employers and society at large.

Let’s keep moving towards full marriage equality so that each couple, triad, quad, or whatever can have the marriage they choose, and not have to hide in the shadows. Nobody should have to hide their love because they are LGBT, poly, or with (a) blood relative(s).
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New URL For One of Our Links

The Incestuous Lovers Forum, which I include in the list of helpful links, has changed their location. They are now at

If you are curious about, or have experience with, consanguineous sex or love, drop in and check it out. You'll have the register and participate to gain full access.

As always, if there is some site to which you think I should link, please let me know.
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Any Good Reason to Ban Polygamy?

Someone asked “Should Polygamy Be Legalized? Why Or Why Not?”

While I disagree with polygamy, I do feel that it should be legalized. It isn’t my right or anyone else’s to deprive someone of their own lifestyle if it doesn’t even effect anyone else. It doesn’t hurt anyone, so why would you just take something away from people?

It is always nice to see someone explain why they are an ally.

Which is why gay marriage should also be allowed!


However, I think that after legalization there would need to be laws put in place that only 1 husband and 1 wife can do their taxes, apply for food stamps/welfare, etc. This way, people aren’t just marrying multiple people to get more money back from the government (which I think would be the case if it were legalized).

Those are separate issues. Let the laws catch up with rights. Never let the secondary logistics be an excuse to deny rights.

What comments were made to this?


If polygamy was legalized verses decriminalized, multiple partners could legally cross marry with other multiple partners to create family units that would number into the hundreds or even thousands!

It is very unlikely that many marriages would be formed between hundreds of people. Marriage is a big deal, and people aren't just going to marry a whole bunch of other people on a whim.

In Canada Winston Blackmore at one time had 27 wives and when they previously legalized same sex marriages, he instructed 2 of his spiritual wives to marry each other and they did!

And this hurt you… how?

One of those was not a legal citizen and that marriage circumvented Canada’s immigration laws.

And this hurt you… how?

Religious leaders like David Koresh, James D. Harmston, “Jim” Jones, Kenyon Blackmore and others who preached the “pure seed” doctrine would marry ALL the female church members, depriving men followers of their wife and children, in this any thing goes belief.

Religious affiliation is voluntary. If the other men want to stick around for that, that is their choice.

Kenyon married his own biological daughter at age 12, on the “pure seed” doctrine, believing Marry, mother of Jesus was 12 years old at conception.

That is why there are age of consent laws. Kenyon could have done this with her being his only wife, too.

A now deceased polygamist I had many conversation with (Jack Cooke), had 66 children by 5 wives, he barely new the names, he couldn’t remember their ages or birth dates! Is this how children should be nurtured?

In a cooperative environment with parents and a roof over their heads? Yes.

There are endless legal issues as well. Divorce and child or spousal support, if one in 27 wives leaves, what percentage of assets should she get?

Whatever is determined by law or agreement. Someone entering and leaving a marriage would be doing so knowing the conditions, and doing so voluntarily.

To be fair, can women have plural husbands?


I am POST certified in Sex Crimes Investigations, does any one here know what necrophilia is?

So you’re saying we can’t have marriage equality because it will lead to what amounts to using a corpse as a sex toy? Huh?
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