Sunday, July 31, 2011

No, "Monogamy-Only" is Not Essential to Democracy

You may remember Joseph Henrich from the Canadian poly trial. Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed him for Salon, supposedly about “the evolutionary basis for monogamy.”

She asked him about the alleged link between forced monogamy and democracy.

That's not a link I'd want to make too strongly [good - he shouldn't], but it has been argued by historians that monogamy precedes, and then seems to go along with, the emergence of democratic ideals. In the Western tradition, the earliest we can trace laws about monogamy is actually to Athens when the first notions of democracy began to be instituted. The argument is that it's meant to create equality among citizens so that, essentially, there'll be wives available to all Athenian men, rather than having all the rich men take many wives. Although, men were still allowed to have slave concubines just so as long as they were non-Athenian women.

He is referring to cultures and times in which women were essentially property. Monogamy kept one man from getting more “property” than another. But with full citizenship for women and gender equality, the dynamics are different.

You can think of it as a first kind of effort to level the playing field. By saying that both the king and the peasant can only have one wife each, it's the first step toward saying that all men were created equal.

But it was literally about men, not women.

The core of the argument is that polygyny -- when men marry multiple wives -- takes up all the women and creates an underclass of men that have no access to partners, and those guys cause trouble. They commit crimes and engage in substance abuse.

It’s a bad argument. See below.

Also, if you have one male with lots of wives, there are all sorts of stepmothers and unrelated adults in the same household as children, and that increases the likelihood of violence.

If everyone was kept isolated from everyone else, then sure, there would be less violence. Violent people are violent wherever they are. The important thing is to avoid violent people, and prosecute them when they assault others. It is ideal for a man who commits domestic violence to have no spouses (or children) with him, not one.

This guy sounds like those people who marry abusers thinking that marrying an abuser and loving them the right way will get them to stop being abusers. Marrying an abusive young man will not stop him from being abusive. It can make it worse.

Back to the “problem” of unmarried men…

— — —

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Polyamory in Australian Media

Irene Scott reported on polyamory for ABC in Australia.

We met Abby and Grant, they've been in a polyamorous relationship for the last 2 years.

Grant says the concept of finding 'the one' can set people up for failure.

It can if monogamy isn’t for them. Some people are monogamous and can and do find “the one.” We should not impose narrow, confining one-size-fits-all expectations on people who don’t know enough about themselves to know what they need and want. They should be allowed to discover for themselves if they are monogamous, polyamorous, or what.

He says you have an ability to love more than one person, 'and I think that that ability is actually a capacity.' he says. 'My capacity for love grows with each of the people I'm intimate with'.

That is definitely the case for some people, and they should have that freedom.

Anne Hunter is the cofounder of Polyvic, victoria's polyamorous community. She says like monogamy, polamory isn't for everyone.

'So i wouldn't say monogamy doesn't work', she says. 'I would say that the way it is being practiced by a lot of people is clearly not working.'

'When you look at the rates of infidelity and the number of things that get repressed that then burst out in infidelity.'

True, that. There’s audio and/or video at the link.
— — —

Friday, July 29, 2011

Study on Polyamory and Open Relationships

If you are polyamorous, or have participated on polyamory, or have a consensual open relationship, you might want to check this out

Our intent is to study various aspects of polyamorous relationships in an effort to improve the quality of health and mental health care available to diverse populations.

This study has been approved by the Internal Review Board for Human Research at Edgewood College, and is partial fulfillment of graduation requirements from a Master’s degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy.

The more poly people participate in things like this, the better. We want to raise awareness in academia and the media.
— — —

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Letters in NYT Against Freedom to Marry

The New York Times has printed several letters in response to Jonathan Turley’s opinion. As always, typical Discredited Arguments are used.

SETH BULLARD, Lexington, Va…

Polygamous marriages always demean women and set a terrible example for children.

How do they do that? Bullard doesn’t say. We are just suppose to take his word for it.

That fact is so widely acknowledged that it has become part of our social contract, and Americans should have no qualms about removing children from polygamous households in the same way that we have no qualms about removing children from homes where the parents are heroin junkies.

So having more than two adults in the home is like being strung out on heroin? Anyone else see the irrational fear here? It is insulting how some people demean the loving relationships of others, and other families.

DAVID C. HOLZMAN, Lexington, Mass…

And in a polygamous community of southern Utah, teenage boys were frequently banished on various pretexts, in a phenomenon that is undoubtedly partly driven by the mathematics of polygamy, according to a 2007 Times article.

It’s a good thing that teenaged boys, especially gay ones, are never banished from “monogamous” homes! (Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?) What about the vast majority of poly homes that don’t banish anyone, except for toxic bigots? And how about prosecuting child neglect/abandonment, instead of banning this freedom to marry?

CAROL KRAINES, Deerfield, Ill…

Polygamy amounts to female child abuse. Girls are “given” to men at a young age, generally with minimal education. The husbands don’t believe in family planning, of course, so the girls become pregnant early and often. The husband makes the decisions about the number of wives in the household, and about every other aspect of their lives.

What about the vast majority of poly homes that don’t function that way?

These objections are flimsy. The overwhelming number of abused and neglected children have parents who are professing monogamists; the overwhelming number of abused spouses are in monogamous marriages. Simply allowing consenting adults the marriages they want does not harm anyone. Those who want monogamous marriages should have them. Those who want some other marriage should have them.
— — —

Should She Tell Her Fiance About Her Half-Brother?

Dan Savage got a letter about what was likely Genetic Sexual Attraction and resulting consanguinamory.

When I was 14, my parents informed me that I had a half brother. He was my father's son by another woman. My parents were already married when my brother was born, but I hadn't come along yet…My half brother came to live with us after his mother died. He was 16.

We all know where this is going, right?

My half brother got me pregnant. He didn't rape me; I wanted to have sex with him. Everyone in the family found out…and it took me years to get over it and stop blaming myself.

She should never have “blamed herself.” And did she even have the information and access she should have had to contraception? Sexual experimentation between siblings and stepsiblings close in age is not unusual. Throw in the reunion situation, and it should have been expected.

Now I'm 26 and engaged. What do I tell my fiancé? My parents wound up divorcing — my mother called the police on my half brother…

Chances are, then, that her fiancé will find out. It is better he hears it from her, and that she presents him with facts, including the facts behind GSA and consanguineous sex in general. If he can’t take the news, even after being informed about the realities (as opposed to the myths), then it is better to know that before getting married rather than after.

If she is a good catch, and she is truly done with the consanguinamory, then her fiancé would be a fool to let this break them up.

I get panic attacks when I think about having to tell my fiancé about any of this, Dan, because I don't want him to see me as sick.

That is sad. She should not be so tortured. This is part of the problem with the bigotry and prejudice allowed to fester. She did not give herself this brother. She did hide his existence from herself for all of those years. She did not move him in to the same home.

Savage went to Debra Lieberman, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Miami, to get information about GSA and the Westermarck Effect into his response.

"TSA and her half brother were not raised throughout childhood together and neither observed his or her mother caring for the other as an infant," explains Lieberman. "These are the two cues that have been shown to lead to the categorization of another as a sibling. When these cues are present, strong sexual aversions tend to develop. Without these cues, no natural sexual aversion will develop."

It is important to note that sexual aversion may not develop between siblings raised together. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It is common for teenagers to engage in sex and experimentation. It is not uncommon for teens who are siblings to share such things.
— — —

Give Up the Myths Denouncing the Polygamous Freedom to Marry

This commentary at The Economist cites Turley’s opinion piece, then goes on to look at polygamy largely from an economic perspective.

Though I am not quite sure what gay couples and polygamists have in common.

They both continue to endure persecution by the self-appointed sex police.

Extending these same rules to polygamy would be a fiscal nightmare.

This has all been answered already.

Economists often argue that polygamy (we’ll focus on men marrying multiple women because that tends to be more common than polyandry, but the logic still applies to a woman with multiple husbands) benefits women because it enhances their market power.


But once a woman enters into a polygamous arrangement, it seems she’d have less power.

Even assuming this were true, we allow people to choose to have less power all of the time.

But the power structure is different when you have one man and several women.

Yes, it is. They outnumber him. As long as there is gender equality under the law, this isn’t a problem.

The marginal value each woman can uniquely provide diminishes the more women that are added to the family.

It appears to me that the writer assumes that a woman’s sole worth is her sexual availability and her ability to be pregnant, and/or that all women are the same and have the same talents, skills, personalities, experiences, etc.

As the writer heads to the finish line, the “roving bands of untamed-because-they’re-unmarried males” concept is invoked. Hey, shouldn't we force men to get married young so as to avoid that problem? Silly question, right? But here in the US, men (and women) have been marrying for the first time at later and later ages, and guess what? Crime rates are down.

The piece finishes with the suggestion of a “polygamy tax.” What? Marriage equality is good for the economy. Economists should back full marriage equality.

Another common thing I’m seeing from those writing in opposition to the polygamous freedom to marry is the claim that it threatens democracy. That point may have had some weight when women were denied their voting rights, and when a husband was legally considered to have authority over a wife. But that’s not the case anymore. Women no longer start out with meager rights and then have them stripped away by marrying. Great strides have been made in gender equality under the law, and our thinking about cohabitation and marriage needs to catch up.

Time to give it up, bigots. You do not have good arguments to stand in the way of progress, so let adults marry the consenting adults of their choice.
— — —

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Suppression Brings Ongoing Pain

The person who started this thread has apparently been experiencing Genetic Sexual Attraction for many years after meeting her biological family. She and her siblings were adults when they met.

At the time of reunion, I fell in love with one of my brothers (for simplicity's sake, I'll call him B1). There was an immediate emotional connection, and I felt like he was the love of my life. We began a relationship. I also felt at the time that there was a mutual sexual attraction with my other brother (B2) but this was slight on my part and was nothing like I felt for B1.

Since they are apparently not polyamorists, a problem came about...

B2 became suspicious of the extent of my relationship with B1 one night, and was very angry and distressed, and I quickly realized he was jealous. I was petrified he would tell other family members, who I was also meeting for the first time, and I felt very guilty that I'd hurt him and very ashamed of what had happened. I panicked. The only way I thought I could fix things in a very stressful moment of confrontation was to physically respond to his feelings.

Would she have been in that position if consanguinamory wasn’t unduly criminalized and stigmatized? I don’t think so.

B1 and I continued our relationship from afar for some time, writing letters and talking on the phone. We talked about running off overseas with my kids and setting up a life together. However, I became very scared it would all come out and I would lose custody of my children to my ex-husband if it did.

Again, if adults were free to pursue love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, they could have been together without those problems. Instead, they settled or marrying other people in a monogamous context. Would you want to pledge monogamy and devotion to someone who secretly would rather be with someone else - someone who also wants your partner? That isn't fair to anyone involved.

I am remarried to a wonderful man who I know without a doubt would end our relationship if he ever found out what had happened. I live in constant fear my now adult children will learn about it and not understand and hate me. They adore my brother. Whenever I think about them or my husband finding out, I know I literally couldn't live with it. I love so many aspects of my life now, and I am scared of it falling apart. I live in constant dread and shame, and it eats me up having this overwhelming secret, and a fear it will come out.

The constant confusion is killing me. I know there are a myriad of issues here. I have intense feelings for B1 and I'm not convinced these won't be acted on again, although I don't want to betray my husband. At the same time, I also profoundly mourn the fact I never got to have a normal sibling relationship with him a lot, and I wish I could go back in time and undo all of this and have that relationship. I also love my husband, and I don't get how my feelings for B1 are still also possible.

The issues raised by Genetic Sexual Attraction can be painful, but they are made much worse by legal and social condemnation and interference. You can read [Anonymous Daughter]'s account of finally being with the love of her life after many years of painful, destructive suppression.
— — —

A Case for Polyamory

Scott Alden’s article has an ambitious title: “The Case of Polymory.” The subject could fill a book, of course, but let’s consider his article anyway.

Many singles are actively on the hunt for an exclusive, long term relationship (LTR, for those of you who hate actual words). There are also those among the ranks of the unattached who would prefer to remain so. They are comfortable dating multiple people at one time. Fed up with having only two options -- attached or alone -- they are exploring the possibilities of what lies between.

Poly people who are in relationships are attached. They may not be intentionally monogamously exclusive, but they are attached. The question is, are they open to an additional attachment, for either one of them or both of them?

There are also those who have found a way to enjoy the best of both options -- a long term, loving relationship and multiple partners. They often refer to themselves as “polyamorous” or “poly,” and there are currently about 500,000 reported relationships of this type in the US alone.

That’s the number of reported relationships. There are many more that keep quiet, and there are poly people who aren’t in relationships right now. And there are some people who are poly who just haven’t come to that clarity yet.

I became curious about how people in successful polyamorous relationships do it. So I spoke with Molly, a 22-year-old in a long-distance open relationship and Sarah, a 41-year-old who is raising a 6-year-old daughter with her primary partner. As it turns out, poly relationships are about as complicated as your average monogamous one.

Here are the questions asked:

How do people end up in polyamorous relationships?
Are polyamorous relationships more difficult than monogamous ones?
How do you manage multiple partners -- emotionally and logistically?
Do you tell your partner about all of your other partners?
Do you face a lot of judgement about your choice?

Polyamory continues to gain visibility, which is definitely a good thing.

The case for the polyamorous freedom of association and polygamous right to marry is a different thing from making the case for entering into a polyamorous relationship. The former is that consenting adults should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. The latter has to do with your own personality, needs, goals, and so forth.
— — —

Another Naysayer Has No Real Argument

Like Peter Tucci, Naomi Schaefer Riley doesn’t think poly people are worthy or will win the freedom of association, let alone the right to marry.

I am one of those who has written about the deeply harmful effects of polygamy, particularly when it is rampant in a community, as it is in many places in Utah and New Mexico, among other states.

Here are the effects of polygamy: more than two people are married.

Anything else is not an inevitable effect.

I have written (in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and The Dallas Morning News) about the girls who are prevented from getting an education, the boys who are forced to leave their communities (lest they provide competition for the older men), the physical abuse, the sexual abuse, and all of the other criminal problems that come in polygamous communities.

So she wrote about the culture of specific, isolated religiously-singular communities existing where polygamy is criminalized. This can’t be extrapolated to allowing the general population the polygamous freedom to marry. Does she really think that there would be a problem with, say, a bisexual woman who is married to a lesbian and a hetero man?

I’ve also talked about why it’s not feasible to simply prosecute the crimes as they occur, rather than prosecuting polygamy. (Hint: No one in these communities wants to report crimes because of the consequences they would face.)

Not making criminals of them simply for being in a nonmonogamous marriage would help.

But I’ll put that all aside for a minute and just add that I have watched Sister Wives a few times and each time I turn it off, cringing. It’s not because I find polygamy morally reprehensible, though I do. It’s because I feel sorry for these women.

I feel sorry for many of the women in monogamous relationships as depicted on reality television. So what?

And Kody Brown? A slick guy who just can’t wipe the smirk off his face. And why should he? He’s got everyone fooled.

The only way a woman would choose a relationship different than what she would choose must be fooled, right? Wake up and smell the coffee! One size does not fit all.

Gay marriage has won the day with so much of the American public, I think, because gay couples look like the rest of America. I don’t think polygamists have the same advantage in their fight.

You have got to be kidding me. I think people who don’t consider themselves poly are more likely to support open, honest polyamory and polygamy when it is compared to the government-approved marriages of their “monogamous” friends who are cheating all over the place, or their family members who move from "monogamous" relationship to relationship, having children from each, sometimes marrying, sometimes not. People have supported the same-sex freedom to marry because they’ve realized that consenting adults should be allowed their love, sex, and family lives without discrimination. That is why they are also increasingly supporting the polygamous freedom to marry, and the general polyamorous freedom of association.
— — —


Charlie Glickman is a serious sex educator. He wrote some good advice on “How to Have a Happy Threesome.” He provides tips for couples looking for a third person, rather than a solo person looking for a couple. Also, it is written to be applied to recreational threesomes, but the tips could be used for a polyamorous couple looking to audition someone for a triad. (Some poly people form “Vs” and others form triangles. And for many poly people, the sex is secondary and grows inevitably out of their friendship, and thus the tips would be different. But for others...)

First, are you both sure that you both want to do it? It’s pretty common for one partner to be more enthusiastic about it than the other. That can be okay as long as there’s some interest, but if one of you really isn’t into it, for any reason, don’t push it.

He’s right; this should be the most basic consideration.

OK, so you both want to make it happen. But what are you looking for? Do you want to find a man? A woman? Do you want to have two of you focus on the third? Do you all want to take turns being the center of attention? Are there specific kinds of sex you want to have?

You can read the rest here. It has some very important basic considerations if you’re thinking about doing something like this, including the important reminders about safe sex.
— — —

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Marriage Equality Gives Women More Choices

Feminist blogger Jessica Mack has written again about the polygamous freedom to marry. (I’ve previously enjoyed her blogging on this subject.)

Because polygamy flouts the deep-seated norms of monogamy in Western culture, it is stigmatized and often equated with the worst it has to offer: early and forced marriage, child abuse, and rape. While these kinds of things do happen in polygamous cultures, and should be prosecuted to every degree possible, the truth is that they aren’t unique to polygamy.

Certainly not.

She references the Brown situation and Turley’s opinion piece.

The Browns are not fighting for legal recognition of polygamy – although maybe they should be – but rather the mere decriminalization of it. Seems reasonable to me.

It’s very modest of them.

She asks…

What do others think this means for the future of polygamy in the US? What are the best and worst case scenario outcomes of this case, which has already generated more of a dialogue about polygamy in the US than we’ve ever had? In addition, what could a long-overdue dialogue on polygamy mean for increased acceptance of non-monogamous relationships as a viable model for love and marriage?

Go answer her.

Here is essentially what I wrote...

The immediate best case scenario is freedom of association for poly people. The worst case (not going to happen) is denial of the freedom of association. Either way, awareness is being raised.

I strongly believe that an adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (or not) with ANY consenting adults. A woman should be able to marry another woman. She should be free to marry two or more women, either in a dyadic construct or group construct. She should be free to marry two or more men. Or men and women. And if she freely chooses, she should be free to marry a man who is already married to other women or plans to marry other women. But the important foundation to all of this is gender equality under the law, domestic violence prosecution, and the freedoms NOT to marry, and to leave a marriage.

May the Brown’s lawsuit help pave the way!
— — —

Forbidden Gets Another Blogger Thinking

See here for my previous mention of Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden, which is tragic fiction about consanguinamorous siblings. This review comes from Belle's Bookshelf.

Alternating between the viewpoints of the siblings in question, Lochan and Maya, you really get to know them, understand their choices - even if you can't exactly relate to them - and, most importantly, care about them.


One thing I was impressed with in Forbidden was the exploration of the emotional side of Lochan and Maya's relationship. I've seen docos on GSA (Genetic Sexual Attraction) before and always been like WTF?! Even when the people on them were describing their feelings and how they couldn't help themselves, I remember thinking, "REALLY?! How about you just don't have sex with your brother. Is it really that hard?!" So I liked that Forbidden really made me think twice about the whole situation and see their side of the story. Though I still think it's all pretty icky, y'know, generally speaking.

That’s okay. Someone can personally find something icky but still support freedom and equality, and the notion that people should be free to love each other. To read one real-life account of a happy sibling couple, read this.
— — —

Yes, Poly People Will Have the Freedom to Associate, Marry

Peter Tucci, an editor at The Daily Caller, writes in this piece that Americans won’t have polygamous freedom to marry soon, but the title is even more negative: “Why the polygamist rights movement will never succeed.”

I will explain below why he is wrong.

One of the problems is his perception of polygamists, buts let’s take it from the top.

Until 38 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. Today, gay marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, and 53% of Americans think gay marriage should be legal everywhere.

That’s progress, and momentum is on the side of marriage equality, and that momentum is increasing.

The gay marriage fight isn’t over, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that gay marriage activists have already won. It’s just a matter of time before gay marriage is legal nationwide.

Let it be true!

But on to poly…

After all, if the government has no business telling people who they can or cannot marry, why can it tell people how many people they can marry?

It is actually the same question. “How many” is still “who.” Some people love more than one person, and they should not be forced to choose one over another when it comes to legally marrying if all are agreeable.

He cites Brown lawyer Turley’s opinion piece and the Canadian poly trial.

But social conservatives shouldn’t fret, because polygamy won’t be legal in America anytime soon.

He’s going to eat those words.

One problem for polygamy supporters is the fact that there are only, at most, a few hundred thousand polygamists in the United States.

This is not true. There are a few hundred thousand people who practice what they consider religiously-ordained plural marriage. There are many, many more people who are de facto or self-identified polygamists or polyamorists (poly people).

People who practice lifetime monogamy are a minority. There are nonmonogamists who aren’t polygamists or polyamorists, but some of those would be polygamists if they actually thought it through or were really free to be. Asserting monogamy as the only way is increasingly shown to be a position that can not be maintained.

The small size of the polygamist population means that polygamists can’t sway elections by themselves - they lack the money and votes.

If the monogamist LGBT population did it, so can poly people, a group with includes heterosexuals and LGBT people.

To succeed, the polygamist rights movement would have to rely on the sympathy of non-polygamists. But that sympathy doesn’t exist.

The sympathy is growing, because people understand that civil rights aren’t reserved for the majority, and freely chosen polygamy is beneficial rather than harmful.

The gay rights movement has benefited tremendously from the fact that most Americans have a friend or family member who is gay. However, that dynamic isn’t present in the polygamy debate. In part because of the small number of polygamists and in part because polygamists are concentrated in religious communities that are isolated from the rest of America, few Americans know a polygamist personally.

This is what I meant by the writer’s perception of polygamists. Poly people (whether seeking legal marriage or not, whatever the gender makeup of the polycule) are everywhere, and just about everyone has a friend or family member who is poly, whether they know it or not. As more poly people come out, this will become obvious.

Conservatives oppose polygamy for traditional reasons.

Some conservatives. “Tradition,” fear, ignorance, prejudice, or envy keeps some conservatives from supporting a freedom to marry.

Liberals oppose polygamy because they think that polygamist relationships subjugate women.

Some liberals. Others realize the polygamous freedom to marry, and full marriage equality, is all part of human freedom and equality.

It can happen. It will happen. We’re moving towards full marriage equality, and those who are afraid of that need to get over it. They are wasting life worrying themselves and scaring others for no good reason. They can either join the loving, life-affirming celebration or they can flee to self-imposed exile and stare at the dour faces of their fellow fossils. Some of them are actually repressing their own gay/lesbian or poly tendencies, and it turns them into bitter people. Everyone needs to just relax and let adults share love, sex, residence, and marriage as they want to. We’ll all be so much happier.
— — —

Monday, July 25, 2011

Polygamous Freedom to Marry at Slate

Emily Yoffe at Slate considers Jonathan Turley’s opinion on letting polygamists have their freedom of association.

Turley, smartly, is not seeking to get all four “marriages” recognized; he is arguing that consenting adults have a right to form the family structure they like and that as long as there is no coercion or child abuse, being polygamists is none of the state’s business.

It isn’t.

Turley makes a persuasive argument, and he notes that civil liberty organizations have been reluctant to back him, probably because his cause seems to undermine the case for gay marriage.

Both the same-sex freedom to marry and the polygamous freedom to marry upset the “everyone has to pretend to be heterosexual and monogamous” sex police, but polygamy does not undermine gay marriage. Nor does gay marriage “cause” polygamy, as evidenced by many places in the world where gay marriages are banned and polygamy is allowed.

Opponents of gay marriage have used the specter of legalizing polygamists and polyamorists.

They should be confronted with a simple question: “Why not let an adult marry any consenting adults?” Even if they can’t answer, at least without citing their religion (which they are entitled to have, but not impose on others), they will not change their minds. But… they are not the majority. Many of the people who have bought into the scare tactics of the anti-equality groups, when they ponder that question and a lack of an adequate response, will drop their opposition to marriage equality. We’ve seen this time and again.

XXers, what are the arguments about why polygramy, et al., shouldn’t be next?

They’re answered here already.

Not only should the Browns and others be able to share residence, but they should be free to legally marry, as well.
— — —

Freedom to Polygyny, Polyandry, and More

There are a couple of recent entries at The Pursuit of Harpyness of interest to this blog.

The first is annajcook’s review of Judith Stacey’s Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China.

I mentioned that book and author here.

What this book does do is encourage us (implicitly Western, largely heteronormative readers) to rethink the way our culture has elevated monogamous hetero marriage (and even same-sex marriage) to its status as the ultimate basis for family creation. Stacey does this by offering us snapshots of alternatives to that husband-wife-and-(maybe)-kids family formation: gay male families of many kinds in West Hollywood, polygynous marriages in South Africa (where it is legal for some) and the United States (where it is illegal for all), and matrilinial households of the Mosuo in China. By opening up a window onto the successes and failures of different strategies for family formation, Stacey suggests that “no family system is ideal, and no family form can be best for everyone.”

Which is why we should let everyone decide for themselves and not let some people decide for everyone else.

I am increasingly frustrated by the rejection of poly relationships (whether traditionally polygynous or queer) as a form that can, and should, be recognized as a legitimate family form — particularly when such rejections come from people who otherwise support the right of adults to form intimate partnerships of their choosing.

Me too. That’s why I encourage solidarity.

Is it so hard to believe that sometimes the family form that works best for those involved is one that expands to involve more than two people?

Apparently it is, for the narrow minded. Fortunately, more and more monogamists are seeing that poly people should have their rights, too.

I don’t precisely agree with Stacey that polygyny is inherently un-feminist. I would argue that what makes a feminist family has more to do with the egalitarian nature of the relationship(s) involved — including those between parents and children — than it does with the combination of bodies or gender expressions present.


The second entry is from BeckySharper, who asks, “Should We Defend Polygamists?” She cites the lawsuit by the Browns seeking the freedom of association.

I don’t for a second buy that women are empowered by sharing a husband. But I don’t think what they’re doing is criminal.

That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

She contrasts the Browns and others like them with Warren Jeffs.

There is no spectrum of private consensual relations — there is just a right of privacy that protects all people so long as they do not harm others.

That’s the way it should be, but we have various restrictions in different states on the right to marry that violate that in different ways, which is why a Marriage Equality Amendment would help.


I agree with you 100%. As consenting adults they have a right to live the way that they choose.


As someone who supports gay marriage, I have to accept I can’t have it both ways. If we allow all kinds of relationships, then we have to take in the polygamists, also. As much as it horrifies me to think of one man, a handful of wives and tons of kids, I have to deal with it. Like I tell those offended by gay marriage- fine, if you don’t like it, don’t do it, no one is forcing them to marry a same sex partner. So, as long as I don’t have to become one of five wives that service one man, I’ll survive.


I don’t have so much a problem with polygamy, but I have a major problem with the fact that girls are brainwashed to think polygamy is their way to salvation and that they should be happy to be married at very young ages. If consenting adults who have had access to a full range of information and opinions on the subject consent to polygamy, I have no objection and neither should the state. But children cannot consent.

Agreed. Assuming that it is true that girls are being brainwashed in isolated communities in the way feared, that should not mean that nobody should have the polygamous freedom to marry, any more than if these girls we’re being brainwashed to vote a certain way at age 18, that nobody else should have the right to vote.


And why does polygamy always end up being polygyny anyway? Why not a few more examples of polyandry, or multiples of both genders?

Those families do exist! They do not get nearly the same amount of attention, perhaps because it is usually not based on splinter group religion or because they keep a low or anonymous profile deliberately.

A woman should be free to marry a man who is married to, or will be married to, or will be at the same time marrying, other women (and/or men). She should also be free to marry multiple men (or women). For this to be possible, we have to have gender equality under the law, the right NOT to marry, and the right to divorce. This will help protect people from getting tricked or trapped into abusive marriages.
— — —

An Ally For Consanguinamory

Kate Taylor, who is not in a consanguinamorous relationship, argues that “Incest should be legal” and notes the flimsy constitution of the typical arguments against equality.

Incest should be legal. Nobody seems to be able to provide me with a plausible argument against legalising incest – “because it is digusting” is not an argument.

It is Discredited Argument #1.

I think firstly a myth about incest – the incest taboo – needs to be cleared up: first generation interbreeding causes no more genetic risk than a normal couple.

It depends on what is meant by “interbreeding” and “normal.” See Discredited Argument #18.

Incest isn’t a bad thing.

In and of itself, no, consensual incest isn’t a bad thing. It is a bad thing to cheat. It is a bad thing to mistreat people. That can happen with sex, regardless of the relations of the participants.

Another argument used is “Well, it just isn’t right”. But that’s the “argument” that is used against homosexual people and relationships. If it’s just a belief, don’t have sex with your siblings. Let everyone else do what they think is right.

Again, see Discredited Argument #4.

A (completely ludicrous) argument that came up was that it would be confusing for a child. “Hi kids, come and see your Uncle Daddy.” That could well be a (wrongly used) argument against gay couples adopting – “Hi kids, come see your Mummy Dad!”

Discredited Argument #19. There would be much less confusion if people could pursue relationships and raise their children without unnecessary government intrusion. Daddy could more easily free to be Daddy, rather than Uncle.

I realise reading this back that it could sound as though I am mocking gay relationships – I’m not. Those who know me will know I am the most accepting person in the world of same-sex relationships, mainly because every now and again I choose to have one.

She should have that freedom, and other should have their freedom, too.

Another argument is that society decrees that incest is wrong. I don’t see that as a valid reason to make something illegal.

It assumes the answer to the question. It’s circular reasoning. “It’s wrong because it is illegal. It is illegal because it is wrong.”

If public opinion suddenly turned on homosexuality, I would be outraged if it was made illegal. I stand in the same position for incest.

It’s nice to have solidarity.

My argument for legalising incest is very simple – what goes on in the bedroom between consenting adults is no business of the state.

An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. It is that simple.

Some allies commented.

Stephanie weedy (@MissStephWeedy)…

I’ve never thought about it like that before. You are completely right. People are into all sorts in the bedroom. Some of which are considered disgusting but they aren’t illegal so why should this be? Completely agree and lots of respect to you for having the guts to make the argument!


I completely agree. Adults of consenting age should be free to be involved in any type of relationship they want. I may not understand it, but it’s not my job to pass judgment on other people’s relationships.


As to my view on incest – personally I believe it has flourished for years and years and cannot see any real problems, but then as an old hippy am very ‘live and let live’. Don’t tell me what to do and I won’t tell you, except of course when I am ranting in my blog or on twitter!

It’s nice to see the support and the changing minds. Thanks to all allies!
— — —

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Antigone" In NY Central Park

Need something to do tomorrow night? In New York?

Xoregos Performing Company presents the ancient Greek play, Sophocles's “Antigone,” at Delacorte Theater in Central Park on Monday July 25 at 6:30 p.m. The one-hour performance includes dance, sung music and the text of the play. The plot follows the daughter of an accidentally incestuous marriage and her siblings. Delacorte Theater is an open-air theater located near 81st Street, mid-park.

This event is free. For more information visit
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

NY Gets Same-Sex Freedom to Marry

Congrats to all the newlyweds in New York!

Let's keep progressing to FULL marriage equality so that an adult will be free to marry any consenting adults.
— — —

Polyamorous and Christian

Gabe over at Polly's awesome blog explains how he is both a Christian and polyamorous.

There are poly people in just about every religion or religious group. Some of them suppress their polyamorous nature, some don't.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Philosophical: Freedom vs. Promiscuity

Modern Love Muse writes "Spiritually Free or Sexually Promiscuous?"

The more we face our fears about love and sexuality and the more we push unnatural and harmful boundaries, the more we paradoxically have less to be afraid of. Our sexual choices become more authentic, unfettered by useless social constructs, prejudices or shame.

That is part of why I try to do right here.

That is why I believe that spiritually speaking, sex is more than just opening our bedroom to a variety of experiences, partners and practices. Specifically, total sexual freedom — the idea that we can love and be loved in ways that don’t fit neatly in a normative box — is different from wholesale sexual contacts. Again, all judgment aside, we can now differentiate ‘promiscuity’ — which often feeds into and manifests fears, limitations and restrictions – from ‘sexual freedom’ – which is a choice rooted in courage.

I defend the rights of consenting adults to have all the sex they want without fear of discrimination, prosecution, or bullying, but I don't personally encourage people to continue to do something they find is destructive to themselves or others. We are all different, and for some, monogamy is what is best for them. For others, polyfidelity. And for others, much more seemingly casual encounters There are countless constructs. I encourage everyone to be themselves and allow others to be themselves. For someone who needs monogamy, one encounter with another could be considered promiscuity. It isn't the same for a poly person.

“Very few people have given themselves complete sexual freedom so they continue to make agreements that cause repression, dishonesty and distance,” writes Robert Silber of link. To have total sexual freedom means to accept responsibility for oneself. When we take full responsibility for our lives, we won’t seek to control others, because we won’t be living in a state of repression and denial.”

It is an excellent piece. Go read it.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brown's Lawyer Makes His Case in the NYT

Jonathan Turley, lead counsel for the Browns, wrote an opinion for today’s New York Times arguing effectively for freedom. He begins by writing about the importance of Lawrence v. Texas (2003). Of the lawsuit by the polygnist television-starring Brown family…

They are not asking for the state to recognize their marriages. They are simply asking for the state to leave them alone.

While they should be allowed cohabitation without discrimination or oppression, they should also be able to get legally married as they want to: in a polyginist structure.

Utah and eight other states make polygamy a crime, while 49 states have bigamy statutes that can be used to prosecute plural families. And they’re not a small population: the number of fundamentalist Mormon or Christian polygamists alone has been estimated to be as high as 50,000. When Muslim as well as nonreligious plural families are considered, the real number is likely many times greater.

People hear “polygamy” in terms of in America or Canada and they think of an isolated, religion-based patriarchal community. However, there are polyamorous families everywhere, whether one man with two women, one woman with two men, three women, three men, two women and two men, or whatever. They are your coworkers and neighbors. They may be in your family and you don’t even know it becaue they haven’t come out. They may be presented as a “family friends” or roommates or “renters.”

While widely disliked, if not despised, polygamy is just one form among the many types of plural relationships in our society. It is widely accepted that a person can have multiple partners and have children with such partners. But the minute that person expresses a spiritual commitment and “cohabits” with those partners, it is considered a crime.

It is outrageous and, if we’re trying to foster stability and what’s best for children in our marriage laws, then it is backward to make criminals of poly people.

One might expect the civil liberties community to defend those cases as a natural extension of its campaign for greater privacy and personal choice. But too many have either been silent or outright hostile to demands from polygamists for the same protections provided to other groups under Lawrence.

In other words, he’s calling on people to show some solidarity. Good for him.

The reason might be strategic: some view the effort to decriminalize polygamy as a threat to the recognition of same-sex marriages or gay rights generally. After all, many who opposed the decriminalization of homosexual relations used polygamy as the culmination of a parade of horribles. In his dissent in Lawrence, Justice Antonin Scalia said the case would mean the legalization of “bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality and obscenity.”

We can only hope that Scalia’s right that consenting adults will be able to enjoy each other and their own bodies without criminalization, discrimination, or bullying.

Others have opposed polygamy on the grounds that, while the Browns believe in the right of women to divorce or leave such unions, some polygamous families involve the abuse or domination of women. Of course, the government should prosecute abuse wherever it is found. But there is nothing uniquely abusive about consenting polygamous relationships. It is no more fair to prosecute the Browns because of abuse in other polygamous families than it would be to hold a conventional family liable for the hundreds of thousands of domestic violence cases each year in monogamous families.

The nail has been hit squarely on the head. Punish abusers for abuse. Don’t criminalize love and marriage.

Thank you, sir. May you win your case!
— — —

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

President Obama Endorses Repeal of DOMA

In case you haven’t heard, as US Senate Judiciary Committee testimony is scheduled for tomorrow on DOMA, Obama is endorsing the bill to repeal DOMA.

Introduced by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Respect of Marriage Act would repeal the law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and effectively bans same-sex marriage on a federal level.

While I would expect the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA within a few years, doesn’t it make sense to save everyone the trouble, and help out families who need immediate help, and pass the repeal through the legislature now?

Obama can do even more for full marriage equality by proposing a Marriage Equality Amendment.
— — —

Poly People Deserve Freedom to Marry, Too

Friend of Equality, Macha, pointed me to this look at the same-sex freedom to marry and the polygamous freedom to marry written by Jon Adams at Utah State University Secular Humanists, Atheists, and Free Thinkers.

Opponents of gay marriage have often raised the specter that it will inevitably lead to the legalization of polygamy. This has been an effective tactic because while homosexuality has enjoyed growing social acceptance, polygamy remains unpopular.

The claimed-monogamous claimed-hetero sex police fear losing their controls over the bodies of others, so they scream about anything that doesn’t meet their model, and they love to divide and conquer, pitting one group against another. But let me say it again: sexual orientation as far as gender attraction is different from monogamous or poly. Just like heterosexuals, some LGBT people are in monogamous relationships, others are in poly relationships. Some aren’t in either, but are essentially poly in their core, others are looking for a monogamous relationship. Same-sex marriage does not cause polygamy. Polygamy has been a celebrated part of human cultures as long as there have been humans. It exists today in places where same-sex marriage is banned, so obviously it isn’t caused by same-sex marriage.

Adams goes on to note the lawsuit by the Browns seeking the right to cohabitate.

To elaborate further, I think that polygamy should be decriminalized—that is, people should not be fined or imprisoned for the practice.

Thank you for that.

That’s the extent of my support, though. I do not believe that polygamy should be afforded the same societal sanction or benefits that monogamous relationships enjoy.

That’s not equality.
— — —

Sentencing in Iowa Incest Case

Often, news coverage of “incest” arrests, convictions, and sentencing is overly terse, preventing us from determining if the law enforcement action is superfluous (applying incest charges when other charges should be enough or should have been filed) or ridiculous (when the sex was consensual).

Here’s another example of such an article, this one out of Iowa.

A former Rockford resident has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for incest.

Now, “incest” can mean everything consensual sex (whether a long term relationship or not) with someone the same age, or the rape of a child. Clearly, these are not the same things.

Michael Scott Featherston, 29, who now lives in Dayton, received a five year sentence each on two counts of incest, according to Floyd County District Court records. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Featherston was arrested by the Floyd County Sheriff's Office in March 2009.

Following his prison sentence, Featherston will be under supervision as if on parole for 10 years. He is to be placed on the sex offender registry.

Featherston was fined $750, plus a $257 surcharge, on each count. He also was ordered to pay a $200 civil penalty and court costs.

If this was consensual, none of these things should be imposed.

He is to have no contact with the victim or the victim's immediate family members for five years.

That makes me think the victim, if we are talking about something that wasn’t consensual, isn’t in Featherston’s immediate family. Niece? Nephew?

Featherston pleaded guilty in May.

Four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two additional counts of incest against Featherston were dismissed.

If he abused someone, those should have been the charges that were kept. That those charges were dropped may be an indication that this was consensual. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Knowing whether the supposed victim was a minor or adult at the time would help. But we don’t even get that much.
— — —

New Zealand Courts Continue to Punish Consensual Sex

This article on a father-daughter case of possible Genetic Sexual Attraction may be an update of this case.

A father and daughter who admitted conspiracy to commit incest have lost a bid to have their convictions overturned.

The Court of Appeal was told that Mr Y and Ms A formed a sexual attraction to one another in late 2008 and agreed to have sex and perform "other sexual acts''.

Why is it is a crime for consenting adults to plan to have sex with each other, let alone why is it a crime for them to actually have sex with each other? Allowing this conviction to stand is trashing justice.

They were convicted of conspiracy to commit incest and ordered to come up for sentencing within 12 months if called upon by the court.

Mr Y and Ms A appealed, saying they should have been discharged without conviction claiming that the judge did not properly consider the impact of a conviction on their careers and failed to take into account Ms A's immigration status and child custody issues.

But in their decision the court dismissed the couple's appeal.

Incest laws should be changed so that they only apply to rape, sexual assault, and child molestation. They should not apply to consensual sex. An adult should be free to pursue love, sex, cohabitation, and marriage with any consenting adults. For every one of these relationships that law enforcement intrudes into, there are many more that go on, for life or for a season, and it doesn't hurt anyone else. It doesn't harm society. Let them have each other.
— — —

Monday, July 18, 2011

Positive Coverage of Cousin Parents

From the Netherlands comes friendly words from Ashley Hoben in regards to relationships between cousins.

Marriages between cousins may, in the past, have offered effective protection against diseases such as malaria and leprosy, research by social psychologist Ashley Hoben shows.

And what are they protecting against now? We won't know everything until later.

In the West the dangers of such marriages are overstated, Hoben argues in the doctoral thesis she defended this week at the University of Groningen.

Yes, there sure are.

Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Edgar Allan Poe and Queen Victoria were all married to cousins. Yet a majority of Westerners reject marriages between cousins as incestuous. Women in particular see them as a threat to a healthy offspring.

There are definitely myths common in public perception.

Marriages between cousins may have been a response to adverse or tough living conditions, Hoben believes. “It may have been an adaptive choice: passing on good genes mighty have boosted immunity against specific diseases. But now that societies have become less isolated, the descendents of such marriages have become more susceptible to infections.

In some cases, genetic diversity is helpful. In other cases, you are diluting intelligence, abilities, immunities, etc.

In the United States, marriages between cousins are illegal.

In some states. Some states still ban cousin marriages, but none should.

In the Middle East, however, the prevailing view is far less negative. In Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq they are even the standard option. Marriages between cousins, Hoben says, are valued differently in different countries and in different times.

It is time to let each adult marry the consenting adult(s) he or she wants to marry, without these arbitrary restrictions.

The West tends to overestimate the risks, according to Hoben. “A mother who drinks or uses drugs during her pregnancy poses a much bigger threat to her baby’s health. That, however, draws far less attention.” There are, Hoben admits, dangers but these differ in each family. The best way to counter the taboo against marriages between cousins may be to offer sound information about the real risks, which differ in each case.

Yes, this blog has been over all of this before. Concerns about birth defects are not justification to deny this freedom to marry.
— — —

A Bomb Threat Should Be of Concern, Not Consensual Sex

This story out of West Virginia is headlined “Dunbar Man Charged With Incest.”

A relative of a man turned him into police after overhearing several telephone conversations with a female relative and finding several letters the man wrote the victim.

The victim told police she started having sex with Jonathan Adams, from Dunbar, after moving in with him and wife last February.

Police were told Adams stood in the door preventing her from leaving.

Told by whom? It was described as “sex,” not “rape.” Those are two very different things. If he prevented her from leaving and she really want to leave, how about charging him with kidnapping or false imprisonment or some other appropriate charge? If he forced himself on her, charge him with rape or sexual assault.

The topper for me comes at the very end of the story…

Adams was already in jail, charged with calling in bomb threats to the Southridge Walmart.

So, apparently consensual sex between adults is a bigger deal to the editor than bomb threats? If this man was making bomb threats, lock him up for that, and, like I said, false imprisonment. If he sexually assaulted someone, charge him with that. Consensual incest should not be a crime. Bomb threats disrupt the lives of others. Consensual sex does not.

This story also uses “incest” in the headline, and never even mentions the bomb threat!

Jonathan Adams, 32, was arrested overnight after family members alerted police to inappropriate conversation and letters the family members intercepted between Adams and his 25-year-old sister.

Incest can carry a 5 to 15 year jail sentence in West Virginia.

Fifteen years for consensual sex? Absurd.
— — —

Consenting Adults Prosecuted for Consanguinamory in England

In a possible case of Genetic Sexual Attraction, a father and his adult daughter, after twenty years apart, became consanguinamorous. Apparently, interference by law enforcement didn’t keep them apart permanently. This is another example of how laws against incest, which should be used to stop rape and child abuse, are misused.

Nicola Yates, 26, tracked down real father Andrew Butler, 46, through the family-tracing website Genes Reunited.

But instead of developing a normal father-daughter relationship, the Birmingham pair fell in love and began living together as boyfriend and girlfriend.

GSA is common enough that I don’t think it should be categorized as abnormal. If someone doesn’t like what adults do with each other, then too bad. They need to get over worrying about what other people are doing in their own homes.

Nicola, a pretty accounts administrator, and factory worker Butler are now facing jail after her mother and sister discovered the awful truth and alerted police.

The police should have responded with, “So what?” I mean really. They are consenting adults. Who are they hurting? The woman who rat them out found Butler attractive enough to marry him and have children by him; why is she surprised someone else would find him attractive? Perhaps there is a wee bit of jealousy there on the part of the woman who rat them out, and maybe others in the family.

The shamed pair pleaded guilty to two counts of having sex with an adult relative at Birmingham Crown Court on July 7. They will be sentenced next month.

This should not be a crime. It is a waste of law enforcement resources.

They have been in love for years, enduring a previous run-in with the law…

The daughter was given a community order for 18 months and ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for five years.

Butler received a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was made subject of an 18-month supervision order. He was ordered to undergo a sex offender programme and to sign the Sex Offender Register for seven years.

This is outrageous. They should be free to be together and marry, if that is what they want.

By the end of 2007 Nicola was thought by friends and family to have put the forbidden love affair behind her.

Details she posted on social networking sites at the time showed she had a wide circle of friends, was looking forward to a forthcoming job interview, and enjoyed partying and sports.

But in 2008 her family’s worst nightmare returned when Nicola announced she had a ‘new boyfriend’ – but was reluctant to introduce him to her family.

Insiders say the then 23 year-old tried to keep her new man’s identity under wraps. Mum Katrina asked to meet him but Nicola ‘kept putting her off’.

It is now known that the daughter and dad were secretly living together.

They shouldn’t have had to hide. It is nobody else’s business what consenting adults do.

The court heard the incestuous affair had lasted from 2008 to 2009. The penalty for the sex offence can be a two-year jail sentence.

Nicola and Butler are currently on bail. Their bail conditions forbid them from contacting one another.

Ridiculous. An adult should be free to pursue love, sex, cohabitation, and marriage (or not) with any consenting adults.
— — —

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Example of the Freedom to Marry Denied

I went back and re-read the story of Liz and Ryan. They have such a beautiful thing going, and now that they are raising a daughter it is a glaring absence of justice that they are denied the freedom to marry. I highly recommend reading their story, or re-reading it, as the case may be.
— — —

Friday, July 15, 2011

Polygamy at Answerbag

23Skidoo set up a poll, “Should polygamy, polyandry and other adult multiple marriage be allowed? Why / Why Not?”

When I last checked, it was running 80% “yes,” which of course is good, but then the people using Answerbag do seem more progressive than the general population.

The Reverend Soleil is an ally…

So long as all participants are of age and willing, why not? It's none of your business what anybody else does in the privacy of their own home...

william 6 wasn’t so supportive…

What a liberal lot of rubbish. The wrath of GOD will fall on the u.s.a. because of homo,polygamy, and the mob that don't marry at all

Surely William is not Roman Catholic, since those priests don’t marry.


Yes, and no. I think there should be a law allowing a multiple marriage. *A* multiple marriage. If two people are married, and one wants to marry another, then BOTH would have to marry the third person. If one wishes to marry someone that is already married to another, then ALL parties would have to marry.

That should be an option, but not a requirement, as long as an objecting spouse is free to divorce.

Put a limit of say, 8, on the family.

No arbitrary limit is necessary. Most "all-for-all" marriages will be three or four people.

Gingerminx is an ally…

So long as they are all consenting adults I do not see why it shouldn't be legal.

CrimsonTyger is an ally…

I honestly don't care as long as they aren't hurting anyone go for it.


In the US, consenting adults are already free to live together in whatever arrangement they want.

Not in Utah, apparently.

"Legal/Civil Marriage" however is restricted to couples primarily because of estate and divorce law. Consider this, IF polygamy were allowed, in the case of a divorce, what would be the departing spouse's share of the community property?

This is not a good excuse. See Discredited Arguments #11-14.

And what if, in a group marriage, 1 person wants to divoce 1 spouse but not the others?

Then a choice has to be made. Either everyone will be fine with that, or somebody will leave.

Can A be married to B and B to C, but A and C aren't married to each other?

Yes. Why not?

This person brings up all of the standard paperwork/benefits arguments that have been thoroughly answered.

MrJosh is an ally…

Who am I to decide how other people live their lives? If you want it, do it, if not, don't. So long as there is no coercion and everybody is there by choice, its all good.


Do I think polygamy would be beneficial to our culture? No. Polygamy would be less stable than monogamy and cause more social problems.

I fail to see how it would be less stable than supposed monogamy has been, or how it would caise more social problems. I think having the option will actually bring more stability and reduce social problems.

Divorce rates are high enough as it is. Can you imagine how high they would be if every member of a group had to be happy with every other member?

Actually, it could lower the divorce rate as married people who have become mostly “good friends only” instead of lovers would no longer have to divorce in order to marry others.

no longr southernmichigander now anti-emo…

If all parties are consenting adults I honestly don't give a damn.


Again, no good reason to deny this freedom to marry or full marriage equality was given.
— — —

Thursday, July 14, 2011 on Plural Marriage

mommyofone740 wrote about plural marriage

The sister wives post got me thinking what if plural marriage were legal for religious reasons who's to say the next step wouldn't be making it legal for everyone?

It should be legal for everyone, regardless of religion, on the basis of equal protection, the right to marry, freedom of association, and the right to privacy.

And if that happened would you really be ok with it?

I want full marriage equality. Under full marriage equality, if someone wants to enter what they call a plural marriage, that would be legal.

Mrs.BAT is an ally…

I personally would love to see it totally legalized. I don't think it's right for the government to say who you can and can not marry, what you can do with your own body, etc.


no thanks, whats mine is mine, i dont share and neither does he..

So she would not want to be a plural marriage, but what about letting other people enter into one?


Maybe I'm a judgmental biatch but fine whatever let them do what they want. But I wouldn't want to live next to them or ever associate with then.

That’s sad. What if they’re all great people? This is prejudice.


I'd love to have second husband! Free love!

I think most people talking about plural marriage are referring to polygyny, but under full marriage equality, polyandry and other marriages would also be legal.

kcangel63 is an ally…

Yes. I think adults should be allowed to marry who they want.

So is IamMommy247…

As long as everyone involved is a consenting adult, it's cool with me.

briellesmomma is a bit like AlwaysKISA…

Im with this. I am all for doing what you want to do but I think this is disgusting, IMO. I would not want that around my kid.

The good news is most of the responses were in favor of the freedom to marry.
— — —

For Marriage Equality, The Sister Wives Must Win

The Browns must ultimately prevail in their lawsuit against Utah, or marriage equality will remain elusive in the US.

Americans have been gaining the same-sex freedom to marry, but DOMA still stinks up things at the national level, and no single state has anything close to full marriage equality.

Equality just for some is not equality. The Browns don’t even have the right to privacy. They need to get that right secured. Whether that will happen through their lawsuit or through legislation at the state or national level, or a Supreme Court decision that pre-empts the Brown’s case, it has to happen somehow. We need to reach full equality, so that an adult can pursue love, sex, cohabitation, and marriage (or not) with any consenting adults.
— — —

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She’s Interested in Polygamy, Cites the Browns

WhatAMadWorldWeAre, a woman in her early 20s, wrote being interested in polygamy

I think the idea of sharing your love with others is splendid. I would love to learn and understand more about the culture. I think it's a neautiful thing for families that can handle being in a large setting like that. I really want to marry Kody, Meri, Janelle, Robin, and Christine from 'Sister Wives'. I think they are so amazing and strong for going through the public turmoil.

As I understand it, each woman is married to Kody, but none of the women are married to each other (there's only one legally recognize marriage there, unfortunately). Under full marriage equality, they would not only be able to each marry Kody, but could aso marry one of all of the other women. And of course, if they so desired, they could marry other people as well.

CPTMac answered…

My wife and I are looking for another woman to share our lives with. We have discussed the idea of her having a sister wife and we both agree that the family would be stronger. If you are truly interested, just let me know and we can start talking and see if we "hit it off". I will send you my email if you respond to this (and want to talk).

This could be the start of something.

And again we see the positive influence of “Sister Wives.”
— — —

Solidarity (or the Lack Thereof) Between LGBT and Poly asks, “If You’re For Consenting Adults’ Committed Relationships, Do You Support Polygamy?” But the essay doesn’t really answer the question. Perhaps that was deliberately left for comments?

One argument in support of gay marriage goes like this: committed loving adults should be allowed to enter into consensual marriages as long as no one else gets harmed. So does that mean that gays should also de facto support loving, consensual polygamist marriages? After all, if it’s not hurting anyone, what’s the harm, right?

Not only isn’t it not harmful, it can be beneficial. The essay mentions the Brown’s lawsuit.

Joe.My.God. blogmaster calls their lawsuit, “a political gift to anti-gay groups nationwide,” but who really gives a s---? Anti-gay bigots have said that homosex leads to polgamy, bestiality, and child rape for decades. They could have pointed to Sister Wives for proof; now they’ll just point to the Sister Wives lawsuit for proof. It doesn’t really change the fact that homosexuality has no direct link to polygamy.

Same-sex monogamous marriage is, by definition, not polygamous. But there are LGBT people, just as there are heterosexual people, who would like to marry someone who is already married or marry more than one person.

But back to the original question: If queers support marriage equality, shouldn’t they also support marriage equality for adult women who want to marry men with more than one wife? In short, no, not really.

They should. As evidenced by this essay and the comments, not all do.

Here’s why: First, not all queers want marriage equality. In fact, a lot think that it’s just a privileged, heteronormative, waste of resources diverting our attention away from health care, gender equality, and other more important social issues.

There are people of any sexual orientation that don’t care about getting married, but they should support equal rights anyway.

Second, even though some queers are polyamorist, polygamy is not specifically a polyamorist or gay rights issue—it’s a sex rights issue. Sex rights battle include decriminalizing all sorts of “victimless” sex acts including legalized prostitution, repealing nudity censorship laws to foster healthier attitudes about sex and body image (in contrast to the orgiastic violence we see on regular TV broadcast), the decriminalized sale of sex toys (in Texas it’s illegal to call dildos “dildos”), access to condoms in prison, and contraceptives in public. Sex rights issues cut across the lines of sexual orientation.

Is it just me, or was there not really an excuse provided to opt out of solidarity? In other words, I see no reason why the writing isn’t strongly promoting solidarity and discouraging throwing other people under the bus.

I’ve been thinking about writing up the arguments against solidarity and my responses to them, much like I have done with this page of arguments against marriage equality. This is a perfect example. Somewhere around 90% of people say they are heterosexual. Actually, more probably say they are, but they aren’t being honest. What if heterosexual allies for the same-sex freedom to marry or the freedom to merely live together or simply be out of the closet took the attitude of “let this be their fight, not ours?” Same-sex monogamous marriage wouldn’t be legal anywhere. It would still be illegal to be gay. Forget about serving in the military, or ENDA.

If we’re going to be serious about things like the notion that consenting adults should be free to love each other and to marry each other, that has to mean an adult being able to pursue love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adults.

On to the comments.

Zee is an ally…
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Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Incest Charge

Here’s an update on a case out of Nova Scotia in which adults are being prosecuted for consensual sex with each other.

A 26-year-old woman charged with sleeping with her brother has pleaded not guilty to a charge of incest.

The woman appeared before Judge Raymond Morse on Monday with her counsel, Robert Moores.

Judge Raymond Morse, don’t you feel silly presiding over a case about private matter between consenting adults? Dismiss the incest charges. It is a victimless “crime” we are talking about. Prosecuting consenting adults for sex is a throwback that needs to stop.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Polyamory Worked For Her

Devon Sproule, singer and songwriter, was profiled by Helen Brown, and spoke positively about growing up in a polyamorous family.

Sproule credits her “alternative upbringing” with giving her both confidence and people skills. She was born at a Canadian commune, then moved with her parents to join a community in Virginia based on principles of non-violence, egalitarianism, sustainability and income-sharing. Complete with an art studio, it was a terrific environment for an adventurous child, and young Devon enjoyed music blasting out from huge speakers during after-dinner clean-up shifts. “There was classic rock, classical music… one person who always played Björk. My parents were a good blend of attentive and easy-going. Growing up with a lot of adults you learn to express yourself well. You can use your verbal skills to make out that you’re a little smarter than you are.”

Sproule met her friend Danielle when she was 14. “Danielle was 24 and her son was three. I was kinda old for my age, she was kinda young for hers and so we met in the middle. She was my biggest influence as an adolescent.

“When I started sleeping with people I could talk to her about the gruesome details and she was informative and open minded. My dad has always been polyamorous – y’know, he has multiple partners – and my mum’s a lesbian.”

Those who want to deny the polygamous freedom to marry, or polyamorous or LGBT people child custody, usually say that those things are harmful to children. But Sproule was one of those children, and she disagrees.
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Habayit Hayehudi Hashalem Promotes Polygynous Freedom to Marry

This article is a long one looking at a movement in Israel to lift the ban on the polygynous freedom to marry.

A new organization is trying to reinstate polygamy into mainstream Orthodox Judaism, despite it being against the contemporary norm of Jewish law, and prohibited by the state.

This blog supports full marriage equality, not just the polygynous freedom to marry.

It is being promoted as the Jewish solution for the abundance of single women, the Arab demographic threat and the male predicament of seeking extramarital relations.

There is nothing wrong with anyone being single, if that is what they want (the articles say the women prefer polygyny to being unmarried.) But if they want to be married, they should be allowed to marry the consenting adult of their choice, even if that adult is already married. I don’t see any race as a threat. And I have nothing against “extramarital relations” as long as they are consented to by all involved. The best justification for marriage equality is fairness and freedom of choice.
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Brown Power!

The polygynous Brown family, featured on “Sister Wives,” is going to challenge an anti-equality law in Utah. Unfortunately, it appears that they are only going after the ban on cohabitation, not the ban on the freedom to marry.

In an email to The Associated Press, attorney Jonathan Turley said he will file the lawsuit challenging Utah's bigamy law in Salt Lake City's U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

Turley represents Kody Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn. Brown is only legally married to Meri Brown.

He should be able to legally marry all of them, if that is what they want.

Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah. A person can be found guilty of bigamy through cohabitation, not just legal marriage contracts.

Adults should be able to live together, adults should be free to marry.

In a statement posted on his blog, Turley said the lawsuit will challenge Utah's right to prosecute people for their private relationships.

"We are not demanding the recognition of polygamous marriage.”

They should, though.

The Browns have long said they believed making their life public on cable television was a risk worth taking if it helped advance the broader understanding of plural families. The lawsuit appears to be an extension of that belief.

Good for them. They have my support.
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Update on Pregnancy

Pau recently gave an update on her pregnancy (Post #34 in this thread.) This was the second ultrasound for her and her half brother; the pregnancy is 11 weeks along.

The midwife we are supposed to be followed by was delivering a baby so we didnt get to meet her. Another midwife who was available talked with us today and we told her our blood relation. She did not react at all she just said there really should be no problems with two healthy parents and no known genetic issues in the family.

A couple of days later, she wrote…

Went in for my genetic blood test and another ultrasound today. The dr was a funny older man. He said that Being half borther and sister is more like 1rst cousins…He then explained that we really have a good chance of having a perfectly healthy baby and that the egyptians and royal hawaiins interbred and there were no major problems.

If I recall correctly, the Egyptian royals did have some problems, but it that was a different situation. A brother and sister couple with genetically healthy and nonconsanguineous parents is likely to have a healthy child. With any pregnancy, there is always some risk. But nobody going through this should let myths and prejudice scare them.

He says there is of course a higher risk than some but its really not that huge of a deal. Super nice old guy totally calm and undestanding. The ultrasound went fine. He said everything was in the right place and functioning as it should be.

Good to hear. It would be great if the baby’s parents had the freedom to legally marry each other and had protection from bullying and harassment.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Ireland Rejects Freedom to Marry

According to this, Justice Elizabeth Dunne found that a polygamous marriage was not valid in Ireland, even though it was in Lebanon.

The applicant was married twice in Lebanon, first to the respondent in 1975 and later to the notice party, in 1988. Both marriages took place under Muslim and Lebanese law and all parties are Muslims, whose religion permits a man taking up to four wives. The applicant came to Ireland seeking asylum in 1998 and was granted refugee status in 2000.

He then sought to bring both wives and children to Ireland to reunify his family. The notice party (second wife) and children were given permission to come as his wife and family, and came to Ireland in 2001.

There was no deception...

The second notice party said on affidavit that she knew the applicant was married when she married him in 1988 and that this was acceptable under Lebanese law and Muslim marriage custom. The respondent said she knew when she married the applicant in 1975 that her husband could marry up to three more wives, in accordance with their religion and with Lebanese law.

So what happened?

The submissions on behalf of the applicant and both the respondent and the second notice party stated that the rules of private international law were clear. These were that the validity of a marriage was determined by the domicile of the parties and the place where it was celebrated. Therefore, the polygamous marriage of the applicant and the other parties should be recognised unless there was strong reason to the contrary.

An authority on Conflicts of Law, Dicey and Morris, was quoted stating a marriage which was polygamous would be recognised in England as a valid marriage unless there was some strong reason to the contrary. Counsel for the applicant said the central legal issue here was the rules concerning the conflict of law. It was clear the rules governing the validity of marriage were based on the domicile of the parties, and it was also clear that the marriage at issue here, that in 1975, must be declared valid, he said.

So far so good...

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Of Childhood Myths and Realities

Austin Kaluba takes us down his memory lane.

This week, I will go down memory lane with you by highlighting some memories of motherhood and growing up in Zambia.

Among his memories…

Single motherhood was really frowned upon. Single female teachers who got pregnant were dismissed from the teaching service for fear they would set a bad example for girls. The practice lasted up to the early 70’s.

Parenting can be very challenging, which is one way polyamory and polygamy can actually be beneficial. But some of the same people who would run a single mother out of town would do the same to a poly family. I think what matters most in an employee is the ability to do the job, not their sexual orientation, marital status, or parenting situation.

Sometimes we were told as boys to put salt in the relish when our older sisters were menstruating. It was traditionally believed that a menstruating woman should not add salt to relish for fear of contaminating the family.

That's the old “girls are dirty” thing that taught females to fear or despise their bodies and their natural sexuality.

When we reached our teens, we were told that our d---s would be burnt if we slept with girls.

“Girls are dirty, sex is bad.”

Our parents kept several members of the extended family. An average Zambian family would have 7 to 8 children. As children we would sleep in the same room and sometimes incestuous sexual relationships would occur.

This is something that has been common around the world throughout human history.

As children we made love ukuchita ifyabupuba-doing foolish things-in abandoned houses, old cars, ditches or classrooms. We never had orgasms but just got tired after making several hissing sounds by sucking our teeth.

Kids will be kids. They should be raised to appreciate their bodies, their sexuality, and the diversity of the bodies and sexuality of others, not taught to fear or hate.
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There Will Always Be Opposition to Equality

From Australia comes this opinion piece by John Dickson, director of the Centre for Public Christianity and a senior research fellow at Macquarie University. His point is that people often “believe what they want to believe, often in defiance of fact and logic.”

Conservatives are very resistant to accepting the growing body of evidence revealing physiological factors behind sexual orientation. No ''gay gene'' has been found but many specialists think the data suggests that homosexuality, bi-sexuality, polyamory and other sexual orientations are natural inclinations not simple lifestyle choices.

However, instead of grappling with the data and developing other arguments for traditional sexual ethics, some conservatives simply deny the evidence, dismiss it as a conspiracy of the gay lobby or cling to the absence of evidence for a ''gay gene''.

There are some people who are going to fight against full marriage equality no matter what. If you can figure out that the person you’re arguing with is one of those, it is better to save your breath. But there are people who can open their minds to full marriage equality. The shift we’ve been seeing in our favor is not merely the result of new generations. There are those who didn’t support equality in the past but have reconsidered and can now be counted as allies.
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