Legal analysis: "Polyamory as a Sexual Orientation"
Attorney Ann E. Tweedy, of the California Western School of Law in San Diego, has published an important legal and sociological analysis, Polyamory as a Sexual Orientation, on SSRN, the Social Science Research Network.
This article examines the possibility of expanding the definition of “sexual orientation” in employment discrimination statutes to include other disfavored sexual preferences, specifically polyamory. It first looks at the fact that the current definition of “sexual orientation” is very narrow, being limited to orientations based on the sex of those to whom one is attracted, and explores some of the conceptual and functional problems with the current definition. Next the article looks at the possibility of adding polyamory to current statutory definitions of sexual orientation, examining whether polyamory is a sufficiently embedded identity to be considered a sexual orientation and the degree of discrimination that polyamorists face. After concluding that expanding current statutory definitions of sexual orientation to include polyamory would be reasonable, the article looks at some of the complications to making such a move, including potential policy implications and the conflicting evidence as to whether polys want specific legal protections.
Read the whole 73-page paper (June 29, 2010) via the "One-Click Download" link on the abstract page. It's good reading and heavily referenced. I'd say future discussions of this topic are going to begin here.