Loving More Press Release-7/1/15
On Friday, June 26th the Supreme Court made the landmark decision that effectively legalized same sex marriage in all fifty states. Following that decision, there has been a flurry of speculation as to whether this will pave the way for polyamorous and polygamous marriage. In Justice Robert’s dissent, he states “why wouldn’t the same “imposition of this disability,” ante, at 22, serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?”
For many in the Loving More and polyamory community, marriage is a hotly debated issue. Many polyamorous people simply want the government out of their relationship choices and many want some sort of legal recognition or ability to marry more than one person. In the 2012 Loving More Survey, some 66% of over 4000 self-identified polyamorous respondents said they would want to marry multiple people if such marriages were legal and an additional 20% said they would consider it. So clearly it is an issue that needs to be considered.
Many articles recently have touted statistics that only 16% of people polled approve of polygamous marriage. However there is one challenge with these kinds of polls: polygamy is a highly misunderstood and misrepresented concept. When you ask the average person, including many reporters, what polygamy is their answer will be men with multiple wives and the term conjures up images of abuse, young girls being married off, as well as coercion and control of women. The term has become so closely associated with fundamental Mormon and Muslim polygyny that no one considers the idea that it might be a different concept. These fundamental religions are often misogynist institutions where women have little say in the religious beliefs or social order. Polygamy is a term that actually refers to marriage with multiple people of either gender. Polygyny and polyandry are gender specific, the first referring to a man with multiple wives, and the latter to a woman with multiple husbands.
Polygamy is blamed for all sorts of ills, abuse, child brides, isolation, and child abuse. Polygamy is actually not the problem. Abuse happens in many monogamous arrangements as well and possibly more than polygamy. Polygamy could be argued to be one form of polyamory, but there are some core differences between religious-based polygyny and modern polyamory. Polyamory as a rule is based on mutual consent, equality of partners and, perhaps the biggest difference, both men and women having the choice of multiple partners.
Most people who are asked the question about polygamy simply don’t have an awareness of multi-partnered relationships beyond a man with many wives based on religious beliefs. If more people were aware of polyamory, and had an understanding of the mutual consent respect and love that are essential in these relationships, would the percentage of those who approve change?
“The freedom to love and form relationships is very fundamental,” says Loving More Executive Director Robyn Trask. “The same arguments were made against interracial marriage as were used against gay marriage. When the ban on interracial marriage was struck down in 1966, it was just the beginning of acceptance. Today you see interracial couples everywhere, and most people don’t bat an eye. This wasn’t true just twenty or thirty years ago, and it continues to improve. I see the choice of who and how we love is no different whether it is monogamous, interracial, same sex, or polyamorous. The polyamory community as a whole is cautious about making marriage part of an agenda. We are much more interested in overcoming the stigma of polyamory, protecting personal freedom, relationship choice, job security, fair housing, and advocating for polyamory families and their children.”
Loving More Mission is to support polyamory and relationship choice. Education and awareness are fundamental in paving the way to understanding and acceptance. Relationships, love, and families can come in many forms; our goal is to help polyamorists have the freedom to love without risking their homes, jobs, or children.
“We do see a need for legal protection and perhaps recognition. What form this will take is something Loving More Nonprofit and many in the polyamory community are carefully considering.” – Robyn Trask.
A few recent articles on plural and polyamorous marriage:
USNews - Polyamorous Rights Advocates See Marriage Equality Coming for Them
Washington Post- John Roberts cited my article in his dissent on marriage equality. He missed the point.
Politico – It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy
Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism