Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Bigot Speaks Against the Freedom to Marry

Rosie DiManno draws from the Canadian poly trial to make it clear that she doesn't want adults to have the freedom to marry and she doesn't think much of the FLDS religion, either. She also takes swipes at the polyamorous in general and  Muslims. I only quote some of the hate below.

Teenage girls transported over the border for the purpose of sex and breeding: That’s human trafficking.

Underage girls, below the age of consent, conscripted into conjugal relationships: That’s sexual assault.

Lifelong marriage is a little different than human trafficking for prostitution, wouldn't you say?

Adolescent boys driven from their homes by men middle-aged and older — fathers, church and community leaders — as perceived rivals in the competition for nubile mates: That’s societal engineering and a different kind of abuse.

I know of adolescent boys who have been "driven" from home because they wanted personal freedom, rather than familial or peer pressure to adhere to certain rules and expectations. In monogamous homes. Or because their "monogamous" parents divorced each other and married new spouses.

Sec. 293 of the Criminal Code is as clear as arch legalese will allow, forbidding conjugal union with more than one partner at the same time, “whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage."

That law should be overturned in the interest of marriage equality.

But polygamous marriage within the rubric of religion — the coercion and sexual exploitation of girls, whether agreeable to those females or nor, and the trafficking required to sustain a polygamous community — is rightly a crime.

Prosecute child abuse. Don't prosecute people for consenting to marriage.

The law doesn’t force monogamy on married people. And the law does not render illegal the cohabitation of however many people choose to live as a family nor dictate their sleeping arrangements.

It can also be said that ten years ago, the law didn't force heterosexuality on anyone, but same-sex marriage was banned. It is time to increase the freedom to marry again and move towards full marriage equality.

Whether brainwashed or culturally kneaded to it, the obedient daughters of one daddy and multiple moms, their embracing of polygamy can’t possibly be used to justify a legal accommodation for plural marriages.

No, I guess nothing can match her bigotry, right?

This isn’t just about the individuals directly involved. It’s about all of us because we, too, have an ethical stake in acceptance or rejection of polygamy.

That's what the bigots said about interracial marriage and same-sex marriage, too.

The FLDS is not a benign religious sect, like the gentle Amish.

She makes it clear throughout this essay that she dislikes the FLDS and considers the religion invalid, as though they shouldn't even have the freedom of religion. I'm not FLDS or any kind of "LDS," but I respect the freedom of religion, and I stand for the rights of all adults to love, sex, and marriage. Prosecute domestic violence, kidnapping, rape, and molestation, but do not deny marriage equality.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

A Feminist Supports the Freedom to Polygamous Marriage

Over at Finding My Feminism, Not Guilty wrote in regards to the Canadian poly trial and the community of Bountiful…

As I have stated before, I am wholly supportive of adult women making the decision to enter into a polygamous marriage. I believe that making polygamy illegal is simply the government seeking to make decisions for women that men believe women are incapable of making for themselves. There is a case in the British Columbia courts involving the polygamous communities in Bountiful, BC. The case is challenging Canada's polygamy laws as unconstitutional on the basis that they are a Charter violation of religious freedom. While I personally don't enjoy supporting ridiculous religious beliefs, the reality is that a polygamous relationship affects nobody else and it thus none of our damn business.

Very well said. She goes on to write that she is against teenage women marrying much older men, and gives a suggestion for revisions in the law.

She links to an earlier message she wrote that references “Sister Wives.”

My gut reaction to polygamy is that it is wrong and I am glad it is illegal. I also wish it were enforced more strictly. Unfortunately, I never let myself just go off my gut reaction; I always think more deeply about issues.

That’s a good thing. My gut reaction when seeing open-heart surgery is “gross!” but it doesn’t mean it should be illegal. It saves lives.

My reasons for disagreeing with polygamy include the manifestation of the patriarchy since it is always men with multiple wives and never, as far as I know, women with multiple husbands; oppression of women; and the effect on the children.

That isn’t true, of course. There are polyandrous families. I link to some of them on this very blog.

She mulls over how things are for the children in polygynous familes….

Except when you delve a little deeper, this is no different from children raised by same-sex couples. There is no evidence kids are harmed by having same-sex parents and any harm that does befall them is due to prejudices in society. If this is the same with children of polygamous families, I really don't have a leg to stand on. Unless there is clear evidence that these children are somehow damaged by being children of a polygamous family, I don’t feel comfortable declaring polygamy wrong.

The reason my gut reaction is that polygamy is wrong is because I don’t understand it and to an extent, the idea repulses me. But I don’t get to judge the lifestyle of other people just because I disagree with it; that isn’t my right. I despise people who judge LGBT, so I cannot in good conscience, without evidence of harm, judge polygamous families.

Yay for solidarity.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dark Daughta on Polyamory

Dark Daughta writes that “It's actually quite hilarious being a polyamorist with radical feminist politics...” She has an introduction to an extensive essay espousing her theory.

I like sex and sleep with men. I've got two male partners. I engage with them on the daily about the issues they've brought to this relationship to mix with mine. I ask them questions about their privilege as men and about the space this affords them to behave in particular ways and still be constructed as, seen as absolutely perfect poly men.

She makes it clear that…

I'm not here to be accessed no strings attached by roving, wandering, lost, potentially addicted men who do not know how to see wimmin as anything but passageways to lost self esteem, lost personal power, lost sense of feeling attractive.

She is not lacking opinion or passion in her words. Be warned that she does not shy away from using the “f---“ word, if that bothers you.
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From the Source

Polygamy in the Desert is a blog from “a polygamous Muslim family who tries to live by Qur'an and Sunnah. This blog tells about our family but also gives the readers an insight into Saudi culture and lifestyle.”
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Indiana Man Gets Prison Time For Incest

Anthoney Sims, 23, or Terre Haute, had been found guilty of rape and incest charges. If I recall correctly from previous coverage, one of his parents caught Sims with his sister.

During his sentencing hearing, Sims' father testified for the defense asking for lenience in the sentencing because it's become a family tragedy. He also stated he's "not sure rape occurred."

Is the father in denial? Is his son a monster? Or do we have a situation here in which shock of the parent resulted in a call to the police, and once the police were involved the sister had the option of either admitting to what is still a serious crime (consensual incest) or covering her own rear by telling the police it wasn’t consensual (= rape)? It is easy to imagine someone being caught by a disapproving parent having sex with a sibling and affirming the parent's assumption that it must have been a sexual assault. It is easy to imagine someone would be reluctant to tell a police officer, a judge, or a jury that they were willingly engaging in a felony by having consensual sex with a sibling, especially given the social bigotry towards people who do such things, in addition to the law against it. Maybe this really was a rape, but given the situation, there is an opening for a false conviction.

This article clarifies the sentencing…

A Terre Haute man convicted by a jury of rape received a 16-year prison sentence Wednesday in Vigo Superior Court 6.

Anthony Sims, 23, also received a five-year sentence for the Dec. 1 incest conviction, but that sentence will be served at the same time as the rape sentence.

But there’s more…

Judge Michael Lewis also recommended that Sims receive counseling for anger management and sex crimes during his prison stay, and ordered Sims to register as a sex offender.

He should have to register if he did raped her. The incest charge is superfluous, and someone who has consensual sex with another adult is not a threat to anyone.

In announcing the sentence, Lewis noted that Sims has had numerous run-ins with the law both as an adult and a juvenile.

Sounds like a troubled guy. It also sounds like the police and district attorney would be more apts to press for charges even if this wasn’t really a rape.

During the trial, the jury heard a taped interview with police in which Sims admitted that he had sex with a female relative in April 2009, and that he knew it was incest. But Sims said he did not rape her, and claimed that the sex was consensual.

The victim submitted a written statement to the court on Wednesday requesting leniency for Sims. But she also noted that she fears retaliation from family members if Sims were to receive a long prison sentence.

Is she like one of those abused wives who stick up for their batterers? The verdict on the rape charge would indicate that.

Defense attorney Christopher Shema called the case “one of the most sad” cases he has ever dealt with.

Shema had argued that the convictions of rape and incest were a double jeopardy issue for Sims, but Judge Lewis ruled against that.

Since both charges are felony sex crimes, Sims must serve 85 percent of the prison sentence. However, he will receive credit for the 654 days he has spent in the Vigo County jail on the charges.

Incest is a felony sex crime, even when everyone consents and enjoys it. How messed up is that? If not technically double jeopardy, the incest charge is indeed superfluous. The act is the very same thing for which he was convicted of rape.

Whatever the truth is in this case, a rapist should get serious prison time for the crime of rape. Consensual incest, or consanguineous sex, should not be illegal. Indiana needs to change its laws.
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More Testimony in Canadian Poly Trial

One of the wives from Bountiful testifying in the Canadian poly trial told the court that she has suffered bias and prejudice because of the ban on polygamous marriage.

The mother of nine told B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman that many people in mainstream society treat polygamists with bias and prejudice.

“That affects my everyday life. We’ve had to pay so much money to try and stay out of jail. It’s hard to come up with the money that we need,” she said.

People should not be persecuted because of their marriage. Their government should recognize their marriages and honor their choices.

She said she married at the age of 16 at her parents’ suggestion, in order to have someone help support her while she attended college.

Contrary to evidence that has been heard at trial that women have no choice in such arranged marriages, the witness said she chose to marry her husband.

“I felt good about him and I married him.”

These women are attending college. They aren’t being hidden away in a prison. They are choosing these marriages. Let them have that choice.
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Rights Activist Murdered

A gay rights activist has been murdered in Uganda. He had been targeted by a newspaper; something I wrote about months ago.

David Kato, 43, was an activist with Sexual Minorities Uganda who was pictured and named by the anti-gay tabloid Rolling Stone -- no relation to the US magazine of the same name -- in a story that called on readers to "hang" gay rights advocates.

"This happened yesterday (Wednesday) at about 13:00," said lawyer John Francis Onyango, referring to Kato's killing.

Onyango said initial reports indicate a man entered Kato's home and struck him on the head before fleeing and that police were focusing on two potential suspects.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Kato died on his way to a local hospital.

As we struggle to get the freedom to same-sex marriage in more places, we’re still dealing with this sort of thing. How sad.

After being identified in the October 2010 tabloid article, which accused gay rights leaders of "recruiting" Uganda's youth into homosexuality, Kato and two others successfully sued the paper for damages and secured a high court injunction blocking all media from outing gays.

Kato was also a vocal critic of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which, if enacted, would massively expand the list of prosecutable offences related to being gay and usher in the death sentence for acts of "aggravated homosexuality."

Currently, the country's penal code, like that of many African countries bans "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature." An attempt to commit a homosexual act can be punishable by seven years in jail. A conviction for actually committing such an act can bring a life sentence.

Uganda needs serious reform.
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Solidarity From Multisexual Pride

Multisexual Pride asked “Should Polyamory be included in the queer community?”

I think it should. I mean it’s different and is actually looked down upon by a lot of people. Even our own community just pushes polyamory away like it’s nothing.

Yes, there are people who don’t exhibit solidarity. But thanks to all who do! Polyamory is attacked by the hetero-monogamist sex police in much the same way as the rest of the queer community. If one truly believes consenting adults should be able to love each other, then polyamory must be included.

I was pointed to Multisexual Pride by The Daily Twitch.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Coming Out Account

Young single mother Kiwi comes out as lebian and polyamorous after earlier coming out as bisexual.

So I started speaking to a friend of mine who is married with an 8 month old son.To cut to the chase, her marriage is an open marriage on her part, since she is bisexual.

Perhaps “and” would have been better than “since,” beause there are bisexuals who are monogamous and married heterosexuals, gays, and lesbians who are polyamorous or engage in some other form of nonmonogamy. But I’m sure Kiwi didn’t mean that bisexuality always necessitates an open marriage.

Her husband has no problem with her dating (yes, having an actual emotional/sexual relationship) a girl. If anything, he supports it! And no strings involved, either. So after a while of her and I pondering the subject and opportunities, We decided to give it a go. This type of relationship is referred to as Polyamory…In a nutshell, she is a married woman with a girlfriend at the same time. No secrets in either relationship.

Kiwi can see the relationship lasting. Shouldn’t they be able to make it official, if that is what they want?

Then came coming out..and telling a select few family members about my relationship. Coming out went well. No negative comments (Yes, I did it through facebook. It was a quick, easy way to tell a lot of people at once) and a few people weren't surprised in the least.

Telling my family about my girlfriend didn't go nearly as well.

You can go read what she wrote about that.

Best wishes to Kiwi on her life as an out polyamorous lesbian.
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Lasting Polyamory

Scarlet asked for opinions on polyamory. She got a good answer from Chances6...

I've been in a committed, triad polyamorous relationship for 17 years now. It's not at all that I have two "wives." It's more correct to say my wife has a husband and a wife.

It's certainly not for everyone (but then, neither is a monogamous relationship!), but we've all found it to be really wonderful and fulfilling and healthy and comforting.

17 years. That's longer than so many monogamous marriages these days. Shouldn't these people have the freedom to marry?
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Uncle and Niece May Face Charges

An angry wife asked, “Can I press charges on my husband and his niece for incest in California?”

I caught my husband, 41 and his niece, 27 having an on going affair for quite some time. There are several witnesses to such disgusting act. The niece is my husband's brother's daughther. Can I press charges on them, since I read that incest is illegal in California and its a felony?

California does not criminalize adultery, but since California still criminalizes consensual sex between close relatives, it is left up to the local police and District Attorney. If this woman filed a police report, it could happen. Someone could be sent to jail for consensual sex. Hopefully, the authorities would do the reasonable thing and instead simply refer her to a divorce attorney, rather than wasting the criminal justice system's resources on consensual sex.

While I’m against cheating, I don’t think it should be a criminal matter and I don’t think any sex between consenting adults should be illegal. But certainly the law, as it is now, could come into play.

California also has no-fault divorce and community property. As such, if this woman’s husband earns more than she does, he would likely have to pay her if she divorced him, and see certainly should if she is so upset that she wants him criminally prosecuted.

She got some responses to her question, with some people mistakenly believing there was no law broken. Others clarified.


I wish to inform you that under California Code 285 your spouse may be held guilty of incest. In this regard you may file a complaint with law enforcement agencies. You will require evidence to be provided to police so that they may take necessary legal action.


FC 2200 defines the relationships which are prohibited to marry and this, in turn, defines what would be considered incest.

2200. Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews, are incestuous, and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate.

As such, an uncle cannot marry his niece in CA and that such a sexual relationship (involving ONLY intercourse - not other sexual acts) would be incestuous and a crime per PC 285.

Can you believe such a law is on the books in California? Then again, so is Prop H8. Both should be scrapped.
— — —

Polygyny in Iraq

BBC News reports that Iraq has more than one million war widows and a shortage of young unmarried men, and that polygyny may offer a solution.

It's a practice that became less common in the 20th Century, but politicians put forward a proposal last year to offer married men financial incentives to take on a second wife.

Under current Iraqi law, polygamy is illegal unless authorised by a judge - though it is part of the country's Islamic tradition and has been backed in recent years by some religious groups.

In Iraq's largest province, Anbar, a charity called Angel of Mercy has been helping widows remarry for the last four years. Dozens of marriages have been completed, with the widows often marrying their husband's relatives.

If that is what is best for all of the spouses, why not encourage this?

Women in illegal second marriages are often "in an inferior situation where they are unprotected and prone to abuse by men", [chatity worker Hana Edwar] adds.

Legalize them and the women will have more power. Of course, I don’t support polygyny only; I support full marriage equality, which includes gender equality.
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Another Witness Defends Polygyny

This newspaper columnist seems skeptical of Canadian poly trial testimony from a wife living in Bountiful.

How benign, how egalitarian, the polygamous wife from Bountiful makes it all sound.

A place where the wishes of girls and women are respected, their input on desired husbands and time of marriage considered, their views on religious dogma weighed and obedience not strictly required.

To hear “Witness 2’’ tell it, there’s no coercion, no banishment of maturing boys by elder males covetous of nubile females, and only discretionary tithing — a word she refused to accept — such that the community can pay legal bills for associated members who’ve been charged, even convicted, of sexual assault against minors in the United States.

Maybe she’s telling the truth? How exactly would DiManno know differently?

She is in her mid-40s, shares a husband with a “sister-wife” — her biological sister is married to the same man and, as first in on the nuptials, technically his only “legal’’ spouse — and together they mother their combined 19 children. Nine of them were borne by Witness 2 and are aged 7 to 26.

Why is it that anti-equality commentators also seem to be against having more than two children? Which came first, their misanthropic fixation or their fixation on the marriages of other people?

By her own description, Witness 2 is not a typical Bountiful plural wife. She has some post-secondary education, occasionally left her babies in the care of her sister-wife to attend classes outside the secretive community, and has for many years been working as a midwife.

Wait, you mean they aren’t kept chained to beds or stoves?

“My children feel like if they say the wrong thing to a dentist or doctor, their father could go to jail,’’ she states in her affidavit.

It is sad that children can’t speak of their parents’ marriages without fear of police action in response.

Institute full marriage equality. If you see child abuse or domestic violence, prosecute that. Don’t procesute consenting spouses for marrying each other.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When the Surrogate or Donor is Family

An anonymous comment alerted me to this article (thank you) about intrafamilial medically assisted reproduction (IMAR). It discusses a position paper published 20 January 2011 by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). The context framing this is when unrelated spouses use a close relative of one of the spouses to assist in reproduction, but the issues are also relevant to those involved in consanguineous spousal relationships (such as, say, first cousins or a mother and son or a sister and brother) who want to have children.

The group advises to evaluate each request for IMAR individually, based on four ethical principles in health care: the respect for autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence and justice.

That sounds reasonable.

The Task Force explains that the right for individual autonomy is elementary: any individual should have the principle of choice with whom to reproduce. It is understandable that couples wish to preserve some sort of genetic identity with the child, and hence may wish to choose a donor in the family.

I personally know a lesbian couple who had used sperm from a brother of one of the women. It is fairly common for same-sex couples or heterosexual couples experiencing infertility to involve a close relative in some way, whether as a surrogate mother, sperm donor, egg donor, or embryo donor.

In some countries IMAR is illegal and the relevant laws against incest and consanguinity apply to protect the offspring from genetic risks and to avoid possible social disruptions and conflicts.

Ridiculous. How about using genetic testing to avoid risks?

According to the principle of justice, doctors should treat similar cases in the same way. So if sister-to-sister oocyte donation is accepted so should brother-to-brother sperm donation.

This is fair.

The paper gives special attention to (rare) cases of consanguineous IMAR, involving the mixing of gametes of persons that are genetically closely related. "The Task Force considers consanguineous IMAR between up to third degree relatives as acceptable in principle, subject to additional counseling and risk-reduction," says Professor Guido de Wert, coordinator of the ESHRE Task Force. "Here, genetic counseling is appropriate to assess the increased risk of conceiving a child affected by a serious recessive disease."

With genetic counseling, there shouldn’t be any restriction on degree.

First-degree intergenerational IMAR needs special scrutiny, also in view of the increased risk of undermining autonomous choice. First- and second degree consanguineous IMAR is at odds with the spirit of anti-consanguinity and anti-incest legislation in most countries and should not be offered.

The laws should be changed.

In any general population the risk of having a child with a handicap or a major disease is 3%. In third degree consanguinity [such as between cousins], the risk is estimated to be around 5-6%. If the applicant and the intended collaborator carry the same disease, there is a 25% risk of conceiving a child affected with that particular condition.

I encourage anyone, even if they don’t believe they are closely related, to get tested before making children, and that would include testing any donated sperm or egg. Isn’t it good to know the risks ahead of time so that an informed decision can be made? Close relatives can and have had healthy babies together, but it is good to know the possibilities? You don’t have to get tested as a pair. You can get individual tests.
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Bramham Has Fun With Statistics

Daphne Bramham at the Vancouver Sun looks for any reason to deny people their freedom to marry. Here’s her latest on Bountiful, a community that has come under scrutiny during the Canadian poly trial, because some there practice polygyny. She cites some statistics.

The number of births alone is surprising -- 833 born to 215 mothers in 13 years in a community whose population is commonly estimated at around 1,000.

That’s fewer than four children per mother. A woman having four children over the course of 13 years is hardly shocking.

The most disturbing fact is that 85 mothers -- a third of the total -- were 18 or younger. That's seven times the provincial rate of teen moms.

Very interesting how this is worded, “18 and younger.” How many of those were 18? Plus, the age of consent in Canada is 16. So out of those “teen moms,” how many were under the age of 16? Why doesn’t Bramham tell us? Also notice that this means that two thirds of the mothers were age 19 and older. She cites the “provincial rate.” How many teen girls outside of Bountiful are having sex outside of marriage? My guess is that most of the wives in Bountiful are not getting abortions. What is the provincial abortion rate? Is is better for 17-year-olds to be having sex with multiple partners in casual encounters or with a husband who is bound to them?

Ideally, I think people should be age 25 or older when they marry, simply because they’ll know themselves better and have more life experience and perspective. But I would not be in favor of raising the legal age to marry.

Two of the teens had three children each by the time they were 18; 16 had two children each. That means one in 10 babies was born to a teenager.

This sounds a lot better than what we see in low-income urban areas, especially when you consider these teens are married and having children by the same husband, rather than unmarried and having children by different fathers, non of whom care about her, as seen in some areas.

And it's no secret that in Bountiful (as in most polygamous societies), the powerful older men have the most wives and the most children. The statistics support that.

Well, yeah, the longer you live the more children you can have. Of course the older men have more children. And wives are better off with more powerful husbands. If a heterosexual woman has a choice between marrying a man with more power or a man with less power, she’s more likely to marry the man with more power.

The age gap between the 215 mothers and the 142 fathers is slightly more than eight years. That's nearly double the regional average and an anomaly in B.C., where the average is 4.6 years.

It is much smaller than the gap in the Playboy Mansion, however. And doing the math, it looks like it breaks down so that there could be just as many monogamous fathers as polygynous fathers, with the polygynous fathers having two wives.

(Even though the legal age of sexual consent was raised to 16 from 14 in 2008, it bears noting that it's a criminal offence for someone in a position of trust or authority to have sexual relations with anyone under the age of 18.)

Well, I’d hope a wife could trust her husband.

It also bears noting that the legal age of marriage in B.C. is 18.

I find it a problem that someone has the freedom to consent to sex and other things, but not marriage.

Not that it matters. As Chief Justice Robert Bauman has repeatedly been told, most fundamentalist Mormon marriages are "spiritual" or "celestial" unions arranged by the prophet or his designate.

So… she’d be in favor of making them legally recognized?

As Bauman has also heard, women and girls are routinely moved between the fundamentalist Mormon communities for arranged marriages.

Woah, woah… moving to get married? Who ever heard or such a thing?

Look, I’m not a member or follower of the FLDS or any related group. I’m not saying I like everything going on in Bountiful. But I cringe when alarmism and broad-brushing is used to deny adults the freedom to choose their marriage partner(s).
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Rev Bev Has a Polyamory Workshop

An ordained minister in Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), “Rev Bev” Beverly Dale preaches these words

Pleasure is good.

The body is good.

Sex is good.

No argument here!

For 21 years, Dale was a campus minister at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching students that healthy sexuality is about more than plumbing, lust, and penetration. She encouraged them to be proud of their bodies, to become independent moral agents (deciding if, when, and how to have sex), to resist the hookup culture's potential for exploitation, and to experience sexual pleasure and intimacy in a state unadulterated by alcohol. Along the way, she earned the affectionate nickname "Rev Bev."

A farmer's daughter from Illinois, a former submissive wife who married the first time at age 18, the Rev Bev describes her evolution in her one-woman performance piece, An Irreverent Journey From Eggbeaters to Vibrators. She has participated in literary salons with an erotic theme, held discussion groups in bars and taprooms for young adults about sexual decision-making, and next month she'll lead a workshop called "Clear Conscience: Morality and Polyamory" for those considering opening their intimate relationships to more than one partner.

And now you know.
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Poly and Kink

Polyfulcrum discusses how being poly and getting into Dominance/submission mesh.

Just like those who profess to be monogamous, some poly people are very "vanilla" in that the only thing different from their relationship that the Rated PG "romantic comedy" monogamists is that that they have more than one partner or spouse. They don't even do threesomes; others are into various kinks and fetishes. In other words, they are people.
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Yahoo Answers Compares Poly and Faux Monogamy

The question asked

Wouldn't honest polyamory/polygamy be better than constant, hidden cheating that involves lies?

I live in the United States. All over the world there are many people who cheat on their partners. I don't think monogamy truly works for most people. I think people go along with monogamy and then secretly cheat because very few people can truly have sex with only one person their whole lives.

I think the truly monogamous are a minority. Whether one includes “serial monogamists” in the “monogamy” category or “the rest,” consider that “the rest” includes unattached people who have having sex with more than one person one-on-one, or in threesomes or group sex; attached or married supposedly monogamous people who are cheating physically or emotionally, unmarried couples who have threesomes or swap, or swing; married couples who have threesomes or swap or swing; married people who have “don’t ask, don’t tell” side affairs or are on the down-low or have open marriages; unmarried people with polyamorous situations, and married polyamorists (including polygynists, polyandrists, and group polygamists).

See this map of nonmonogamy.

There is no one-size-fits-all, which is a good reason to support full marriage equality. Let people truly have the freedom to decide for themselves.

Doesn't it make more sense to stop the lies and the hiding and just be polyamorous, than to keep lying and hiding in monogamy and cheat?

It is my belief that the real wrong and problems is not the sex, but instead, the lies, deceit, the hiding, the pretending, and the games.

I agree.

What do all of you think is truly the solution to eliminating most of the cheating and the lies all over the world?

I don’t believe full marriage equality would eliminate cheating. I do think it would reduce it. The legal and social freedom to be true to oneself would reduce the number of people in the closet or in denial.

Jace Gordon…

I am a gay guy in a three-way relationship. (Most gay men don't agree with me doing this.)

My partners love each other, and I share love with both of them. Our relationship is remarkably stable because we trust each other.

Sounds good.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Which Is It?

In the context of the discussion around the Canadian poly trial, the Fall of Reynolds calls out an anti-equality bigot

One more thing - Ms. Maschlitska has floated the rather novel idea that the two independent fundamentalist Mormon witnesses (at the BC trial this week) are actually "Alpha-Females". Does this mean that, rather than being subjugated, downtrodden, enslaved, beleaguered, marginalized, suppressed, demeaned and cowed, these two evidently sweet and beautiful women are empowered, capable, forthright, independent, self-assured, confident, free-thinking, emancipated and strong ??? - - - because, if Ms. Mischlockska is right, then this whole phony manufactured myth about all polygamous women being disenfranchised, human-rights victims is a big bucket of horse doo-doo. That's the thing - when you fall prey to the polygamy-hating-eradicating-delirium, it can sometimes get too hard to keep your story straight.

Those who want to deny the freedom to marry often have trouble being consistent. There are women who choose polygyny. There are women who very much enjoy polygyny. They do not deserve to be made criminals or ridiculed.
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Checking in on Polly

Polly continues to have a wonderfully insightful blog, giving us a look at what it is like to be a mother with two husbands and doing all of the things that she does in terms of running a household, education, and dealing with hostile family members.

She gets a lot of questions. She has some great advice for someone looking for a polyamorous partner. Go read the whole thing if you can, but here’s some of it…

1. Don't cheat. If you are with someone who cheats, it's probably time to change or end that relationship. (It's definitely not time to add a person to the relationship.) Therapy and/or breaking up are pretty much the only options here.

2. Figure out if you are poly *before* you start falling in love with lots of other people. It simplifies things immensely. You probably will have some failures before you have successes.

3. Look for other poly people to date, instead of trying to "convert" monogamous people. This also simplifies things immensely. People who have identified as poly for some time probably have already gone through the Fail stage, too.

And here's possibly the most important thing:

4. Polyamory is a lot of work, and people are real people, with individual characteristics that may surprise you.

Further along…

Ultimately, what I found about my poly relationship was that it wasn't about what Gabe was providing for me, or what Stuart was providing for me, either. It was also about what I could give these men, and what we share as partners. Nobody is perfect, and Gabe, Stuart and I are no exceptions. We are, however, perfect for each other, even in our imperfections. I am cradled and kept warm by these men. They nurture me and my children and each other and are providers and protectors and champions of my heart. They are so affectionate and respectful with each other, and truly partners for each other as well as for me. Seeing them embrace is in many ways more wonderful than having them embrace me. I am deeply grateful for every moment of every day that they deem to love me. And yet, somehow, Gabe (or Stuart) will so often take me into his arms and tell me he feels like the luckiest man in the world.

Beautiful. It is disgusting that someone would want to deny them their freedom to marry.

In this one, one of the things she talk about is dealing with mothers.
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An Advantage of the Polygamous Over Monogamous

From a study that appears in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, we find out some interesting news out of the Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia.

The team discovered that sperm from polygamous mice are better competitors in the race for fertilisation.

As always, this may or may not be applicable to human beings.

Dr Renee Firman and her team attempted to show that sperm from rival males compete to fertilise females and that, over several generations, polygamy can select for mice who produce more sperm, with stronger motility, than monogamous males.

The study found that while 53 per cent of the litters had mixed paternity, 33 per cent of litters were fathered by the polygamous males compared to 14 per cent by monogamous males.

And whether they were mated first or second, polygamous males retained this advantage, showing that the increased fitness applies to both offensive and defensive competition.

Depending on the causation, if someone wants children they may be better off practicing polygamy, and someone who doesn’t want children may find an advantage in monogamy instead of polygamy. Or maybe the more fertile are more likely to practice polygamy? As a reminder, I am not against monogamy. I am a firm believer that each person should be free to pursue celibacy, monogamy, polyamory, or polygamy (in whatever form).
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More About West Virginia Incest Case

This article gives more information about this case.

A Rand man pleaded guilty to incest in Kanawha Circuit Court, admitting he had sex with his daughter, subsequently impregnating her.

Larry William Darby, 41, told Judge James Stucky, "I had sex with my daughter and we had a baby."

Darby said the girl was 19 when the sexual act occurred between them last year at their home in Rand.

He said? Isn’t this verifiable by doing simple math?

When asked how many children he had, Darby replied he had four -- aged 21, 20, 16 and a newborn.

Asked if he was married, Darby replied that he would be divorced as of Tuesday.

Darby also pleaded guilty to sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or person in a position of trust. That charge pertains to his 16-year-old stepdaughter, whose breasts he touched when she was 14 years old.

It is any wonder his marriage is ending?

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors will not seek an enhanced sentence based on Darby's past felony record, which involves sexual abuse charges in Indiana.

Stucky will sentence Darby Jan. 12. He faces a possible five- to 15-year prison sentence on the incest charge and a 10- to 20-year prison sentence on the sexual abuse charge.

He should be locked up for a long time for anything he’s done to a minor. There should be no charge for any consensual sex involving adults. If he forced himself on an adult, he should be charged for rape or sexual assault for that.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prison Sentence in West Virginia Incest Case

Most news sources hide the identity of sex crime victims. Most news sources hide the identity of minor victims. We're never given the age of the supposed victim in this case. Overall, I find this coverage of the story to be deficient.

A father got his daughter pregnant, and she had the baby.

Larry Darby was sentenced to 15 to 35 years in jail for incest and sexual assault by a parent.

He was sentenced for "incest and sexual assault." Was the victim underage? Or was she an adult who consented. If she was an adult, the sexual assault charge would indicate she did not consent. Either the incest charge was superfluous, or there were consensual encounters that were incestuous, but did not fall under the sexual assault category. I wish we had clarification.

"I don't ever want to lie to my child," Aleena Jones said. "I'm scared to tell him the truth because I don't want him to hate me for what happened."

If she was coerced, she had nothing for which to apologize.

This is where we get some indication that there is more to this than consensual sex between adults (which should not be a crime at all):

The family says this isn't the first time he has had sexual contact with young girls.

"He was glaring at me the whole time I was up on the stand," Jones said. "It just made me feel even nastier."

The family says he's fondled another victim and has served time for it.

"My second daughter was involved in all of this, too, and he tried to do stuff to her, too," Kimberly Jones said.

"Young girls" would indicate minors to me. But we're never given ages for any of the girls.

Now, Darby will spend more than a decade in a cell, but with the possibility of parole.

"I'm not willing to take a chance on these types of people who engage in these types of crimes," Prosecutor Mark Plants said.

If Darby gets out, he will have to spend the next 50 years on supervised release.

It is bad enough the law isn't more precise when it comes to consenting adults vs. an adult preying on a minor, lumping both together as "incest." But the media does this as well. There should be more clarity in reporting. If this woman is a victim, her name should not have been published.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

A Confused Opponent of Equality

Beverly Nye Stratford embarrassed herself with this anti-equality letter to a newspaper.

Polygamy hurts men.

Why don't we let people decide for themselves how their marriages will be?

If three men out of 10 take three wives each, that leaves one woman for the seven other men.

There are billions of people in the world, though. The three men aren't "taking" those wives by force. Those women choose to marry those men. Shouldn't they have that choice?

Keep in mind too that in most polygamous countries, like the Muslim ones, all sex outside of marriage is illegal with penalties up to death itself, so it is unlikely the last woman would dare to service the other seven men even if she wanted to.

This a red herring in places like Canada and the United States. All adults should have the right to love, sex, and marriage. That some freedoms are restricted in one place does not mean we should restrict other freedoms here.

The only way to make it fair for a man to have more than one legal wife at a time is for the wife, or wives, to be legally able to have an equal number of husbands.

They should have that freedom.

For example, a man takes a second wife. This new wife is now eligible to take another husband, as is the original wife as well.

Everyone should have the right to marry the person or person(s) they want to marry. The letter writer really should be writing to support full marriage equality. Seems to me her beef is with "polygyny-only."
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Another Witness For the Freedom to Marry

Mary Batchelor, a Utah woman, wants to have the freedom to marry, and has testified in the Canadian poly trial.

A Utah woman who describes herself as a former polygamist says she would be happy to enter into another plural marriage if the opportunity arose.

She should not be denied by laws imposed by people who don't even know her.

She told B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman that she had some "very good times, some very positive times" during the polygamous marriage.

Some women enjoy polygyny.

She also had some "very challenging times" when the first wife had an affair and left, she said.

"It was especially hard when the marriage broke down and there was a loss of trust," she testified.

The first wife, Victoria Prunty, became a third wife in another polygamous marriage before becoming a spokeswoman for a group called Tapestry Against Polygamy, which opposes plural marriage, the court heard.

It's convenient that Prunty wants to keep this freedom to marry illegal, while she had the freedom to cheat.

Despite the divorce of the first wife, Bauman said she hopes to re-marry into a polygamous relationship.

"I do hope to be able to live in a plural marriage again. It would be wonderful if I could do it without a law against it. When that plural marriage ended, it broke my heart."

She should have that freedom to marry. We need full marriage equality.
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Thank You, Sophie Hirschfeld

Sophie Hirschfeld gets it right when it comes to testimony in the Canadian trial over polygamy that portrays polygamous communities as horrible places.

This account about tortured babies is being used to argue that polygamy should continue to be illegal in Canada. I don’t want to downplay Jessop’s suffering. It certainly deserves attention and it does need people to take action, but this action is not the appropriate action. Polygamy is not what is to blame for what has happened to these children. Polygamy is not to blame for the young brides forced into marriage, either, or for the displaced boys who have been tossed out of their religious community. No, instead, the blame goes to dogma and people, mostly people.

Polyamory and Polygamy have become dirty words in our culture. It has become symbolic of something that is a distant, distorted image of what it once was and what it can be. Polyamory is alive and well in the United States and I’ve had plenty of experience with polyamorous people and have even been in polyamorous relationships, myself. I’ve seen many varieties of poly family structures and have seen what kinds of struggles those people face because their chosen love life is not what people think is ‘right.’ I’ve seen no evidence that polyamory or polygamy are, themselves, dangerous things.

Read it all.
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Woman's Incest Conviction Upheld in Canada

A mother, known as "B.D.", lost her appeal of her conviction on incest and other charges. The case developed after it was discovered that a child who died was the offspring of her and her 21-year-old son, who was also her husband. They have two other children together as well. The other criminal offenses included trying to forge birth certificates.

An autopsy revealed the girl who was brought to Cambridge Memorial Hospital one June morning in 2001 had died of natural causes. However, the glands on top of her kidneys were very thin.

It’s a condition that can result from incestuous conception.

Police grew suspicious and asked Ontario’s Centre of Forensic Sciences to set aside a sample of the girl’s blood for possible DNA testing.

The appeal was based on whether or not the police should have been allowed to do that.

The 21-year-old man who brought the child to hospital had identified himself as her brother.

But the girl’s mother, then 47, claimed he was her husband.

As it turns out, both were right.

Until the laws change, it would be good to avoid self-incrimination.
On Thursday, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld her convictions for incest in a case Justice Robert Blair described as giving “new meaning to the word bizarre.”

People used to think interracial and same-sex marriage were "bizarre" too. But we've overcome such bigotry.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hindered by a Hang-Up is a site for people who may be experiencing GSA or others who have concerns because someone in their lives may be experiencing GSA. There are some very helpful people there, helping people through all sorts of agony. There are also varied opinions on GSA held by the participants there. Some people there discourage any romantic or sexual relationships between close relatives, others are supportive of such relationships. Some people there are involved in such relationships and are happy, but the nature and tone of the website more often draws people in which at least one person in the relationship is struggling under the weight of societal conditioning that has taught them that such relationships are wrong. An example of that is seen in the first posting in this thread by “lostdaughter”.

She is 29 years old, and explains that her mother’s actions separated her from her biological father when she was just six months old. This past Christmas she was reunited with her father, who is now 50 years of age, and after about three weeks things progressed.

Its been very exciting...very "normal" - until 2 days ago ...things changed...
we went out for drinks and we were dancing...and i got very close...and well...he got excited...but nothing happened. later at home we started kissing. He felt bad. He has four other children...other daughters...but had never done anything like this with them. But I never had a father...and didnt feel any boundary issues.

I consider myself to be a very open minded person. Including sexual behaviours...but I never thought i would be doing anything with a father (that i never had).

it felt so right...kissing and touching each other...eventually we went upstairs to a bedroom - and we had sexual intercourse including - both of us gave/received oral sex.

he felt very guilty in the morning. I talked with him. I told him, we were both consenting adults, I am not 3 yrs old, I am almost 30. and if we enjoyed it - then there is nothing wrong. He said it wasnt normal and he felt guilty. I asked him if he enjoyed it and got a bit worried...perplexed....why I wanted to know? I asked him again, and he said YES, but he felt guilty about liking it. I told him I didnt. I told him perhaps it just society who says those things - and we shouldnt listen to it. I told him he doesnt see me like his other daughters because he didnt raise me....etc. He felt a little less guilty. I honestly enjoyed it very much, and I wanted to happen again. He said no, the first should be the last time. but we talked about it whether thats what HE wanted for himself or because thats what society told him to want. He confessed it was because of the "society"...that he enjoyed it very much and he would make love to me again. So we did again last night. the first time we had drank some...but last night we were completely sober. and we both enjoyed it.

She describes a situation that involves consensual sex between adults; something enjoyable to both. Nobody should be feeling guilty. This is where the condemnation of the “sex police” impedes the happiness of others even without getting the real police involved.

i do not have any feelings of guilt but i know he has...he thinks he shouldnt want to have sex with me. I told him its normal he doesnt see me as a daughter and sees me as a 29 yr old woman. I find him so attractive (he is very fit and doesnt look his age). He does tell me he enjoys me very much - but just feels guilty and thinks about other people finding out.

Other people should not be giving people like this a hard time. The guilt-trips people try to give others starts with condemning appreciation for the human body and condemning masturbation and doesn’t stop, continuing on to condemning relationships between mature, idependendent, consenting adults. Love is love, and what consenting adults do in a bedroom is their own concern.
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Happy Wife Extols Polygyny in Court

After a parade of bigots and the dissatisfied, the Canadian poly trial is finally receiving testimony from people actually in polygynous marriages. Alina Darger didn’t avail herself of the option to testify anonymously.

In a marked contrast to former FLDS members who have told the court about overcrowded, abusive homes filled with conflict and power struggles, Ms. Darger described her childhood and marriage in glowing terms.

Her father had two wives, and Ms. Darger herself is the first of three wives. She has seven children of her own, and she and her two “sister-wives” have a total of 24 children aged from six months to 20 years old.

Ms. Darger said she chose to practise polygamy because it is central to her faith and she wanted the same closeness and security as an adult that she had experienced as a child.

“I loved that experience and thought it was really amazing,” Ms. Darger said. “I always felt I had somebody close to care for me.”

Why would anyone want to deny her this choice?

Ms. Darger said she does not believe in arranged marriages and, under questioning by a B.C. government lawyer, said while she is aware that some fundamentalist Mormons have married underage girls, she does not endorse or approve of that practice.

“I disagree with that; it’s not in my belief system, and there are laws to take care of that – and they should,” Ms. Darger said.

Yes! Exactly!

Anyone who doesn’t want this kind of marriage doesn’t have to enter one. But let those who want to have a polygynous (or polyandrous, group, same-sex, interracial, intergenerational, or consanguineous) marriage have one. Do not prevent other adults from exercising their rights to love, sex, and marriage.
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Put the Bigots on Defense

The blogger at The Religiously Sanctioned Co-Habitation Chronicles has an entertaining and thoughtful essay in which he calls on his fellow LDS church members to accept that polygamy (polygyny) is part of the church’s heritage, and not to get upset when someone mentions it or expresses some mistaken impression about it.

Polygamy is a part of our collective history. It might be embarrassing. Maybe it’s even painful to recollect. But it’s there. The longer we deny it or try to change it, the longer we as a Church will continually bob back and forth between self-hatred (and try to recreate ourselves as a completely anti-polygamous group and hate on others who practice it, which is dangerous, uncharitable, and disingenuous) and smugness (and try to label anyone who brings up polygamy as ignorant and laugh haughtily at their stupidity and discount anything they say, which is dangerous, uncharitable, and disingenuous).

When I see us backpedaling and running around trying to tell the world that “Oh my GOSH we are NOT polygamous OKAY?!?!?!??!?!!!”, all I see is our own angst and embarrassment, exposed for everyone to see. It’s clear that we as Mormons are more uncomfortable with our polygamous past than anyone else, and it makes us look kind of guilty, guys.

Nobody should feel ashamed or defensive about a family history of polygamy. Bigots should instead feel ashamed that they would make fun of someone based on such a thing, and that they’d keep people from having the freedom to marry in there here and now.

If someone asks you if you are, or your ancestors were, polygamous, ask them “What does it matter? Are you looking for tips?” Seriously. Instead of getting upset or defensive ask them what the problem is. None, or virtually none, will be able to articulate a single problem.
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Siblings in Love

Amanda wrote at Yahoo Answers

My best friend does incest with her brother?
I was at my best friend's house and I accidentally caught my best friend(15 year old) having sex with her older brother(17). Which I know is wrong, but they begged me not to tell anyone.
Now that I know their secret and think they can trust me, they aren't afraid to actually make out(kiss) in front of me.Which I am still not used to the idea, but I know if I tell my best friend is going to get in trouble.

She chose this answer from kstahl as the best…

I think the only real issue here that has any substantive importance is whether they are both fully consensual with what they doing. The secondary issue would be whether they are using adequate birth control. Beyond that it just devolves into various legal matters (incest is illegal in the U.S.) and psychological matters with some crossover into sociological issues. But generally I would say that if they are both full participants and enjoy what they are doing together and they do more to keep it private, then no real harm is being done.

Amanda should not gossip about her friends, and there is no need to tell anyone, since this is a mutal relationship. I’m not clear if she is generally turned off by “public displays of affection,” or if she is bothered by it in this case because she thinks what her friends are doing is wrong. If it is the latter, then she’ll get used to it and see that her initial reaction is mistaken. These are siblings who love each other and care about each other, not strangers at a party.

The always thoughtful Natalie Underwood wrote…

Well, if you get them in trouble it won't help them, and they will just resent you. It could wind up tearing apart their family if you do. But if you drop them as friends it won't help them either, and it will just make them afraid you will hurt them. So stay friends, but learn what you can about incest - there are lots of places you can google to find more information. Then talk to them about it.

Be careful not to be judgmental, or they won't listen. Just give them information, try to help and keep them safe. Ask them why they started having sex, and when. Find out what makes them do it.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Benefits of Polygamy

On Health Answers, I found “13 Reasons Why Polygamy Would Be Beneficial To Human Society.” It appears to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I wanted to take a look at it.

There would be much lower numbers of single, frustrated and lonely men and women in society : Women sharing the husband and men having to not compete over women anymore.

I do believe that there would be at least some reduction in the number of frustrated/lonely singles and some reduction in the rates of cheating and in the rates of divorce. “Much lower” might not be the right description, because it hinges on people agreeing to be polygamous, and for a lot of people, that is not something they’ve been conditioned to consciously choose.

No more parent less homes : More and more households would have a father and mother in the home with the children.

Again, there would be some reduction, but there would still be some homes with just one parent.

Wealth and Value increase exponentially : If you have a household with 3 or 4 adults all making some money. They could
A. Bring in more income
B. Displace all their debts/liabilties and
C. Save extra money for supplies, vacations, savings etc.


Peoples mentality changes for the better : People generally will become more mature, more giving, more caring and more responsible.

Some poly people report this effect.

There were some responses.


Ok, here’s the biggest question. Why? Why would a woman, or women, choose to be with a man who has to share his time, income, everything, with other women?

Some women do prefer “sharing” a certain kind of husband over monogamy with another kind, or being unmarried. Let them have this choice.

One person wrote…

I have no problem with a man having multiple wives, but a woman having multiple husbands is IMMORAL and WRONG!

You can hold that belief, but both men and women should have the same freedom to marry.

There were the typical bigoted objections that assume women are incapable of making choices and any man who doesn’t have a wife all too himself will turn genocidal. Astounding.
— — —

Polygamy = Polygyny Talk on Yahoo Answers

The question is, “Should men be allowed to be polygamous?”

The answer is yes, but only because all adults should have the freedom to marry more than one person. I’m for full marriage equality. Allowing polygyny, but not a group or polyandrous form for polygamy, would not be equality.

Here’s one discriminatory response…

We do not live in caves and throw spears anymore. We are civilised human beings and we are able to think logically and rationally and we are able to consider others. Sleeping with numerous women all at the same time is not very civilised or considerate.

Actually, there are highly civilized and considerate poly people. But she goes on to explain she is incapable of sharing…
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False Assumptions About Poly People

It’s always nice to see the allies pop up in discussions prompted by questions like “How do you feel about polyamorous relationships?” More people participating take the attitude like this one…

I think you should be able to date as many people as you want as long as they're all aware and consenting of each other. I think it's just as wrong to hate someone for being gay, straight, pan-sexual, a-sexual, etc.

Tony D…

As long as you are up front and honest about what you are doing, people should be able to do as they we please. We are all consenting adults :D

But then there are attitudes like this one…

That COMPLETELY defies the reason for a relationship in the first place.

Ridiculous assertions like this are stated without any explanation. Many poly people have great relationships, so how can polyamory defy the reason for a relationship? Having more of something defeats the purpose?

Someone else wrote…

Plus, if you're not sexually nor emotionally satisfied with just one person, then I think it's perhaps time to re-evaluate what you want in a relationship to begin with.

It is insulting to assume poly people haven’t thought much about what they want in a relationship. Most have thought about it more than others.


I believe it is wrong and if you can't be happy with just one then you don't really love them.

So I guess Lynn will only be having one child? Other people wrote it wasn’t for them, but they understand it might be for others. But bigots will dismiss it outright and insist something is wrong with people who find happiness this way.
— — —

Will Utah Legalize Polygamy?

KSTU has an story on efforts to decriminalize polyagamy in Utah.

Members of Utah's polygamous communities are making a renewed push to decriminalize polygamy. They argue that if state officials really want to combat abuse in the closed society, they should decriminalize their marriages.

Boudicca Joseph was one of the nine wives of Alex Joseph, who founded the southern Utah town of Big Water. She is one of those pushing for polygamy to be decriminalized, arguing that it is the only way to really fight crimes within the closed and often isolated polygamous communities.

"Who's going to go to a policeman and tell him there's a problem when they're committing a felony and there's a fear they're going to be arrested?" she told Fox 13. "It's not going to happen."

No justification for continue to deny this freedom to marry is given. Everyone, regardless of their religion, should have this freedom if they want to use it.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Be Reasonable

Incest laws were debated in a discussion online at the Richard Dawkins Foundation. The recent Swiss proposal to decriminalize sex between consenting adults was used as the starting point.

A spokesman for the upper house said - quite rightly and justly in my opinion - that the often-cited eugenic reason for a law against incest is not something that a civilized society can use as a basis for a law. After all no one seriously considers punishing the drinking of alcohol during pregnancy, or sex between partners who both have a history of genetic defects in their respective family backgrounds. The abuse argument also doesn't carry us very far, since sexual abuse, coercion and rape are already illegal.

Yes, this is exactly right.

Are there any rational moral reasons for upholding this law against what some consider the last sexual taboo?



I don't really see how a relationship or sex between relatives could be morally wrong if both consent and are uncoerced, however the incidence of genetic disease in inbred families when parents are only cousins is much higher than those with access to a more diverse gene pool, and if siblings were to produce offspring the risk would be greater again. This doesn't really seem fair on the children of such a union. But then to legally ban people from having children in circumstances when the risk of genetic disease is particularly high seems to be a gross infringement of their human rights.


Sexual acts and procreation are two different things.

Right again!

Still, people tried the “deformed babies” argument, so this comment was made by MMAtheist…
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Bad Sixties Childhood

In the Canadian poly trial, Brenda Jensen said that she had a bad childhood in Bountiful and in a community along the Arizona-Utah border. (See this and this.) This is meant to show that Canadians should be denied the polygamous freedom of marriage. Why? Because her parents were polygynists, which means they practiced a form of polygyny.

I wonder what her family had for breakfast? Maybe whatever they had for breakfast should be banned.

My point is, a problematic family or a problematic community or sect that also practices polygyny is not a reason to deny all adults their right to choose to have more than one spouse.

Many people tell of horrible childhoods they had in monogamous homes. Hold individuals accountable for what they do. Unless you can demonstrate an inherent, direct, causal connection, don’t blame polygamy in general for the bad actions of an individual or a group.

Brenda Jensen left the group in 1968, according to the articles. Her testimony might be useful for historical purposes, but it can’t be considered reliable about what is going on today.

I think child abusers should be dealt with severely, but I don’t believe denying everyone marriage equality helps anyone, child or adult, other than bigots who want a smug sense of control over others.
— — —

He Has a Girlfriend, But is Still Active With Sister, Mother

This guy is a senior at a university and has a girlfriend he wants to marry, but he’s been keeping a secret from her.

I am into incest. Not in a fetish or fantasy way, but as a lifestyle. My sister who is a year younger than me and I have been having sex since I was sixteen and she was fifteen. About a year after we started our mom caught us in the act. Instead of being upset mom said something about her always wanting this to happen, then she asked if she could join us.

He goes on to write that with varying frequency, he’s been having sex with his sister and sex with his mother ever since.

Should I tell my girlfriend. Should I invite her to participate. I love her, but I still have strong family love for both my mom and my sister. Think of it this way, my love for my mom and sis are probably the same as yours for your mom and the rest of your immediate family. The only difference is the I have sex with my family. I never thought of sex with mom or my sister as “cheating” on my girlfriend.

I know some people see it that way, but I think if his girlfriend believes they have agreed to strict monogamy or wants to know about any other current sex partners, then I think he is cheating on his girlfriend. He doesn’t make it clear his mother and sister know about his girlfriend, and so he could very well be cheating on them, as well. But I think the silence about that implies that his sister and mother are aware of his relationship with his girlfriend.

He certainly should not marry his girlfriend without her being aware of and agreeable to any ongoing sexual relationship with anyone else. That means he does have the option of ending the sex with his sister and mother, or telling his girlfriend what is going on. I’d say there is what would be a minority chance she will agree to marry him (or stay with him at all) if he tells her what has been going on. The chance is even smaller that she’d be agreeable to this continuing, and even smaller that she would join in. If she would join in (and his sister and mother would likewise be agreeable) than he’d be quite a lucky guy. It isn’t unheard of for someone to agree to share a person with two of the person’s relatives, though each situation is different.

I have to wonder if this would be an issue if we had full marriage equality. Perhaps the writer would marry his sister, his mother, or both?

John Z told the writer to stop having sex with his sister and mother…

Although I don’t personally know anybody who has had vaginal intercourse with their mothers, I do have two friends, each of whom had a sexual relationship with their sisters during high school. Both of these guys are in very secure marriages (both now over 30 years), have children, and have been very successful in life. I had no knowledge of their incestuous relationships until well after college when each of them told me about it (one, because I lusted after his sister in high school and he was aware of it… lucky guy!). So, it is isn’t impossible to end an incestuous relationship.

Of course it isn’t impossible. It isn’t necessary in many cases where others advise it, but it is possible.

While John Z was neutral about the consanguineous sex, the other two responses were from bigots.
— — —

Solidarity at the Empty Closet

Bryan90, a gay male, asked for opinions on consanguineous sex and love.

If you know someone (this means that if you don't want to disclose your own identity, you can just say you 'know someone') who wants to have a romantic or sexual relationship with his/her siblings (same-sex or opposite-sex) would you be able to share your story?

Black Cat, a gay male, wrote…

My step-dad and his sister are awful close if you catch my drift. Based solely on the way they interact, and the fact that they almost worship one another, as well as some stories we've heard from other people, they've been involved once or twice.

A couple of people brought up cocerns with being open and honest about something that is criminal in many places. Bryan90 wrote…

wow, I never knew that having a relationship would be illegal - i always thought it was the marriage that was illegal.

Yes, unfortunately, it is illegal in many places (this discussion consists mostly of Canadians and Americans) for people to have consensual sex just because they are close biological or legal relatives. This needs to be changed.

djt820, a gay male, wrote…

Incest is fine. Never had any experience considering I don't have any siblings and I don't see my cousins at all. As long as both parties can consent, its fine.


Beachboi92, a gay male, wrote…

While i personally am iffy on the idea of dating blood-relatives (while not so much non-blood relatives) i'm still also the kind to say whatever makes you happy, no ones getting hurt and it's two consensual adults so if you where to argue it there really isn't an issue. I mean honestly there isn't much of a moral reason to say incestuous relationships are bad.

All through history people have been involved within their own families, i'm sure it happens in the animal kingdom, and hell even the bible leaves no option but incest for how people came to exist so go bananas xD


Maverick, who identifies as a bisexual “transgender boi” wrote…

Any sexual act between consensual adults is fine with me, but the only in-family infatuation I've ever had is on my adopted brother, and it passed pretty quickly after he was introduced into our family as an older teenager. Also, I never would have acted on it, not then and especially not now.

I'm pretty sure my cousin was fooling around with her stepbrother when her mom got remarried and they moved in together. But I don't consider sexual/romantic relationships involving adopted siblings and step-siblings to really be that weird...after all, you're not really related.


Darkwing65, a “bisexualish” male, wrote…

Love and lust are boundless offenders. Reason will guide us and passion will drive us. I think as long as no one is coerced or harmed in any way, go for it. Love is maniacally beautiful like that.

It’s nice to see solidarity from the G and B males for the rights of consenting adults to consanguineous love, sex, and marriage. People who have had or want consanguineous relationships should likewise show solidatiry for LGBT rights (as many do).
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Person's Polyamory

Margarita del Norte offers a description of polyamory in her her life.

Polyamory – or at least my version of it – is about getting and giving the most love consistent with our puny human limitations, and about respecting one’s beloveds, and not trying to own them, or require as proof of their love that they abstain from the fullness of what life has to offer.

Now, I get it that some people – maybe most people, if popular culture is any mirror – are happiest loving just one person and being loved by them. And good for them; I can’t help thinking that must be simpler, at least most of the time. (Certainly the whole safe sex thing gets a lot simpler.)

But I can certainly love more than one person at a time – love them deeply, solidly, all the way through. And that does not interfere with my ability to give the one I’m with my undivided attention.

I recommend reading her whole essay. There's a f-word in there, or two, so be warned if that bothers you. Another quote I wanted to highlight, to show the diversity found in polyamory...

I even have a lover with whom I do not have sex at all (not for decades now, anyway) but the intensity of our relationship, the depth of our love, would drive a jealous/possessive person totally nuts.

You might think that being bisexual and polyamorous would make life just one big orgy, but alas, that is not so (or not very often) because my peculiar orientation, and in particular my lack of interest in casual sex (that is, sex without emotional intimacy) disqualifies so many potential lovers, and also disqualifies me as far as most people are concerned.

The misconception that some people have of all poly people being sleep-with-anyone flakes doesn't hold up. Many poly people are thoughtful, disciplined people and they should not be denied their rights.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the US, Monday is a holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He was a giant in the fight for civil rights. Over four decades after he was assassinated, the fight for civil rights continues.

History is on our side. Consenting adults will have their rights to love, sex, and marriage.
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More Yahoo Answers

Looking around at Yahoo Answers again, there was more talk about consanguineous sex and a little about polygamy.

beth ebull had an experience she’ll never forget

I was asked by my neighbor last week to check on his kids while they were at a funeral for the beginning of this week. The kids are 15 (girl) and 17 (boy). I don't know if they knew I was supposed to be checking on them or not but I walked into the house cuz no one was answering the door, and I heard loud music in the basement... When I went to check on them to make sure they weren't partying, I walked in on them... Having intercourse.... I ran out as fast as I could and I don't know what to do. I have no idea if I should call someone or go back there and talk to them or just pretend I saw nothing... Am I legally suposed to call someone? Child services maybe?

Unless it appeared that it was forceful or one of them was drugged, why would someone call child services? Some teens have sex. Some teens have sex with siblings, half siblings, or stepsiblings. When they are that close in age, unless there is force or coercion, it isn’t considered molestation or rape.

They were having sex, in their own home.

If it were me, I would tell the parents, in as neutral a tone as I could muster, “I was in your home to check on your kids as you had requested, and from what I saw, I have reason to believe your children are sexually active. I wanted you to be aware of that.”

That’s it. Leave it at that. Don’t explain that you saw them having intercourse with each other. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that parents know that minor children for whom they are responsible are sexually active.

Do not tell anyone else. It is nobody else’s business.

Some of the answers others provided invoked the “mutant babies” objection.

Natalie Underwood, who is always helpful wrote…

If they both wanted to be doing it, then it would be your word against theirs…Without more proof, authorities don't like to try to prosecute a case where no "victim" will testify against the other.

Deborah wrote…

I would corner the kids separately and let them know that this is not okay.

Deborah cites the law, but otherwise doesn’t give a reason why this is “not okay.”
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Not an Ally

Roslyn Phillips, Tea Tree Gully, SA shows that she is not an ally with this letter to The Australian.

The definition of marriage in the Marriage Act -- the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life -- contains five elements. There must be a union, not just a friendship; it must be a union of a man and a woman; it must be an exclusive union, not involving polygamy or adultery; it must be a voluntary union, not entered under coercion; and it must be a union for life.

If any one of these elements is missing at the outset, the relationship is not a marriage.

She doesn’t say why she is against the freedom to voluntarily enter into same-sex marriage and polygamous marriage. But that is typical. Rarely does anyone try to actually give a reason for their anti-equality stance that isn’t based merely on their personal preferences or religion.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Marriage in Turkey

This article discusses a report on marriage, and also gender inequality, in Turkey.

Though polygamous marriages are not legally recognized in Turkey, more than 186,000 women share their husbands with a second wife, a practice that is particularly common in the country’s east, a recent report has revealed.

Second wives are married in religious or cultural ceremonies, and generally are eligible for few legal protections, according to the report by two academics, who presented their research to the Parliamentary Commission on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men.

Legalization would provide legal protections. In addition to polygyny, there are a significant number of consanguineous marriages…

The research also revealed that 12.4 percent of marriages are between first-degree relatives, something that affects 1,700,062 women, mostly in the southeast. Matches between first-degree relatives account for 29 percent of marriages in southeastern provinces, 22 percent in central-eastern Anatolia and 18 percent in the northeast.

I would like to see Turkey, along with many other countries, move towards gender equality and full marriage equality.
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Denial of Freedom Harms

This blogger considers the Canadian poly trial, comparing the benefit of freedom against supposed harm, and comes down on the side of being an ally for the freedom to marry.

Should polygamy be legal?

Yes. Consenting adults should be able to marry each other.

That restricting the ability to legally engage in polygamy is restricting freedom is obvious. That it is often a religious freedom doesn't specifically matter to me - although as a practical matter this will be argued in court as explicitly religious freedom being infringed on - for I think that whatever the justification, if people have a desire to do something then restricting that desire is a restriction of freedom.

On the other hand, there is the potential that polygamy leads to harm. As Craig Jones, a lawyer for the BC government puts it, "all forms of polygamy contribute to the discrimination of women and the sexualization of young girls".

Jones can say anything he wants to. That doesn’t make it true. Isn’t it discrimination against women to prevent a woman from entering in to a marriage of her own choosing?

Now polygamy has been heavily stigmatized as well as poorly represented by the occasional - but much publicized - genuinely predatory people or in very different cultures and so it gets a perhaps poorer representation as harmful than is justified. However, for the purpose of discussion let us just accept at face value all of this alleged harm.

The result is we now have to balance these two sides. On the one side, we are restricting freedoms and on the other we are preventing harm. It should be noted that the burden of proof is firmly in the latter camp to establish harm.

They haven’t, as far as I can tell.

My view is that it should be legal. Polygamy has a very large cultural stigma that is impeding the legal freedom of people to marry how they choose. The alleged harm it does I think is both overstated and not at all obvious that restricting polygamy is fixing the specific problems we wish to address.

Thank you! The writer goes on to cite the attacks on the right to same-sex marriage, and how some of theme are like the attacks on the right to polygamy.
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Carolyn Jessop’s Testimony Supports Freedom to Marry

Carolyn Jessop testified in the Canadian poly trial, claiming that she lived in a polygynous community that had a climate of fear and abuse. The community was in Arizona, however, not Canada.

When she was 18, she was forced to marry a 50-year-old man she didn't know and who already had three wives. She eventually had eight children with him, Jessop said.

Nobody should be forced to marry. Those who support full marriage equality support the requirement of the consent of all spouses.

Still, Jessop said, polygamy should be decriminalized. She said neither the courts nor the police are enforcing the polygamy law, and she hopes decriminalizing the practice would at least raise the possibility women and children living in polygamy could get help.

She is right about this. If there is abuse, it will be easier for the authorities to stop the abusers if the law hasn’t already made criminals out of the victims.

It is entirely possible that there are problematic communities in which polygyny is practiced. That doesn’t mean polygyny, or polygamy in general, is the problem. Any more than the conclusions that monogamy must be criminalized because of domestic violence in those marriages.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mother and Son Affectionate, Bigots Freak Out

The gossip media is abuzz talking about supermodel Stephanie Seymour and her 18-year-old son Peter Brant II. Why? There are pictures of them enjoying some time together (with others) in the surf, including pictures of them embracing, kissing, holding hands. In some of the pictures, Brant’s hand is on the side of his mother’s swimsuit-clad breast as they hug. There is also speculation about whether Brant’s body is showing a sexual a reaction. Of course, at that age, that can happen for no reason at all.

There is nothing wrong with any of this. Shame on anyone who would try to discourage affection between a parent and adult child. What’s in the pictures could be the extent of their physical affection. Or maybe there is more. But that is between them, and I think a lot of people are jealous either way, as they are both attractive people, and some people wish they had even the most minimal contact with their parents or children. Do not tear down others for having a warm relationship. recaps some of the buzz.

A supermodel in a bikini kissing a hot guy is surefire tabloid fodder -- but a supermodel in a bikini kissing her son? That is pure, creepy gold.

Creepy? Yes, the bigots seem to think so.

Does it matter that Seymour, who recently reconciled with estranged husband Peter Brant, was on vacation with her whole family at the time? Does it matter that the photos were clearly taken in rapid succession, from at least two different angles, suggesting that what might appear a languorous caress was instead a brief embrace? Does it matter, further, that Peter Jr. is openly gay?

It doesn’t matter to the gossips. Some of the people commenting on the coverage probably think that a man who is strictly gay can be "turned" by the "right" woman. The writer shows intelligence…

But how many random news sites or commenters on them could confidently recognize familial warmth if they saw it? Maybe the idea that a teenage child would still even want to put an arm around his mother, would offer an unsolicited kiss, is so rare as to be downright odd. But that doesn't automatically make it weird or gross or creepy. And as any mother with a rapidly growing up child knows, it might even make it enviable.

It isn’t weird or gross or creepy either way. If it isn’t for you, that’s fine. Don’t begrudge others affection and love. Check out the pictures for yourself. They are quite nice.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Latent Desires

Here’s a blogger who wants to see fictional characters in media have consanguineous relationships. There does seem to be a lot of fan fiction that involves consanguineous love and sex. To me, this seems to be an indication that a lot of people, on some level, are interested in the idea. It is “safe” for them to explore it in fiction, so that’s where they do it. This is not to say that everyone who reads or writes fiction with such elements wants to engage in such a relationship themselves. But I do think more people are open to, even excited by, the idea, than some commentators would have us believe.
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More of the Same From Canadian Poly Trial

Polygamy causes people go to blind! That’s almost the level of what we’re dealing with.

Western legal traditions over the past 2,500 years have consistently favoured monogamous marriages and banned polygamy, a law professor testified Monday.

That has been how the church-government has regulated marriage, but the question is why, and if there was a good reason, is it still a good reason, especially now that we don't let a church run our government? I say no. For most of the past 2,500 years, western legal traditions have consistently favored slavery, racism, sexism, child labor, and homophobia. Only recently have these things been cast aside. It is also time for the denial of this freedom to marry to be scapped.

John Witte of Emory University in Atlanta also said…

"In the West, as philosophers and jurists began to describe it, polygamy itself was too often a cause or a consequence of harms, serious harms, to women, to children, to men, to society.

They also said the same thing about masturbation, interracial marriage, and so many other things. We’ve learned better. Isn’t it time the bigots stop trying to keep other people from deciding for themselves the person or persons they will love?
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Someone Not Poly Tries to Understand Poly

This blogger doesn’t get polyamory, but writes about the topic thoughtfully, instead of claiming to know that poly people and poly relationships are defective.

The truth is without any experience of my own, I don't know whether poly is more of a choice or more of a way you are. I think it would be insulting if I tried to make a judgement on that, because I really have no idea. I will say that some people seem to be more suited for poly than others. I would imagine to have a good poly you must have really good communication skills, a great ability to manage jealousy and a strong sense of self-confidence.

Of course, those things are probably required for a good monogamous relationship, but somehow I imagine having more than two people somewhat cranks it up a notch.

There was a comment left by Polyamory Paradigm

Personally, I have a hard time thinking of Polyamory as a sexual orientation. Mainly because I know hetro, bi, and gay people who are poly which indicates it can't be a sexual orientation.

A better question in my mind is whether Polyamory is a general orientation or a lifestyle. But again, you can be in the D/s lifestyle and be hetro, bi, gay and still be Poly.

As someone who has been Poly my whole life I have a hard time living monogamously. I simply can't find it in myself to restrict my feelings when I strongly connect with someone. (I'm not talking strictly about sex either). For me, the freedom to love at will is inherent in my being. For others I know, Polyamory has been a conscious choice. I think either way, and even monogamy, is just fine if that's what makes you happy.

You don't have to like the relationships other adults have. You don't have to understand them, though if you want to try there are plenty of us who will be happy to explain things. But even if you don't like or don't understand, please support the rights of others to love, sex, and marriage.
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