Things are really hopping for polyamorous people in Colorado right now. In addition to the big news with the excellent poly episode on Our America With Lisa Ling (which profiled some of the Loving More folks in CO), the Colorado legislature has apparently also just passed legislation regarding same sex partnerships in the state. According to Robyn Trask, head of Loving More:
[Recently] the Colorado Legislature passed a bill for Civil Unions for same sex couple. The bill allows many of the same rights for Civil Unions as marriage but falls short in areas of taxation and some financial benefits.
Loving More has been contacted by reporters asking if the polyamory community wants marriage or civil unions and do we plan to “push” for this now or in the future. …
I am wondering how the leaders here [on the Poly Leadership Network list] feel about this issue. Loving More is not a political organization and we can’t push for any legislation. Our role is awareness, social advocacy and support.
Discussion is ongoing on the PLN list, and several people have weighed in. Jessica Burde of Polyamory on Purpose expressed a couple of very good points:
1) We have bigger issues. When polyfolk can’t lose their children and
their jobs for being poly, when there aren’t laws on the books which
can fine us or send us to jail for our lifestyles, then I’ll worry
about whether or not we should fight for marriage.
2) LGBT doesn’t need us rocking their boat. A lot of us have been
disappointed with the response of the LGBT community to the poly
movement. Many of them see our desire for recognition as a threat to
the progress they have made over the last few decades. By providing
ammunition for the slippery slope argument, we hurt the people we want
for allies, and help the people who want to hurt us.
Here’s what I added to the discussion:
“Pushing” for poly marriage would probably be a mistake, I think. Jessica [Burde] has said some good reasons why. I actually think that the way to create a more just, fair, and safe society (here in the US anyway) for everyone, is to fix the damn health care situation. Ridiculous “health” “care” costs ruin so many people’s lives, and drive decisions about marriage and relationships. I’m still married to my “almost ex” (or my “significant ex” as my sister calls him!) in large part because of health care access. […] Get health care OUT of the marriage question, and make it a RIGHT for ALL citizens (at the very least; possibly all HUMANS residing in these borders), and then we can start talking about what choices people might want to make around marriage/relationship.
And yes, the dangers of losing children in custody battles is a huge problem as well. The more we can educate the public on the safety and indeed positive benefits of poly to children raised in poly households, the better for everyone. Again, that doesn’t require “pushing” for marriage benefits — just educating about poly families (e.g., the excellent work of Elisabeth Sheff in the US and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (sp?) in Australia.) Getting it through the thick skulls of the lawmakers that the stigma and fear is more dangerous than the “lifestyle” is definitely going to help.
As to polys riding on the coattails of the GLBT movement… yes, same sex marriage is necessary before we can even consider poly marriage, since any poly marriage would defacto contain at least one same sex couple. But same sex marriage is not the SAME as poly marriage, and it isn’t necessarily the next logical step, since it is pretty radically not the same as hetero couple marriage. Same sex marriage is required — but not sufficient — for poly marriages to exist.
Where I come down, in general, is that I believe that everyone should have a right to free association (gee, where did that idea come from?? *eyes the documents of our founding forebears…*) and to be related to whomever and however many they love. As such, I support the rights of same sex couples to marry. I also think that, if we remove the notion of heterosexual couples only, that eventually it will become nonsensical to think that we should limit loving relationships to only two adults, in the same way that eventually it became nonsensical to imagine that people of different religions or races should not marry. But I think that will come about without us having to “push” for it… just educate, educate, educate.
What do YOU think? Is now the time to be discussing poly marriage? What kind of marriage laws might YOU like to see? How do you think we should be approaching this issue?
PS: Are you interested in creating a poly relationship ceremony? Or creating a more standard wedding for two people, and want someone who understands that you are proceeding from some different assumptions? I’m an ordained minister, with experience creating and officiating at weddings and other life milestone ceremonies. You can find out more about this aspect of my work on my Ministerial Services page. And as always, I’m happy to set up a 30 minute free consultation to help you determine if I’m the right person for the ceremony you want to create. No matter who and how many you love… Love is ALWAYS OK!
∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥
[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]