"Why are we so committed to keeping compulsory monogamy intact?"
PolicyMic is a news-and-opinion site, founded by recent Harvard and Stanford grads, designed to function as "the first democratic online news platform to engage millennials in debates about real issues. We believe in amplifying excellent unheard voices."
So Angi Becker Stevens, polyactivist and radical theorist in the Detroit area, went there and wrote this:
Valentine's Day is For Celebrating All Kinds Of Love ... Including Polyamory
By Angi Becker Stevens
...David Blankenthorn, who once opposed same-sex marriage... has since changed his tune. He announced last June that he wished to join forces with same-sex marriage advocates “to build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same.” And his recent “Call for a New Conversation on Marriage” — with its claim that “this hollowing out of marriage in mainstream America is among the most consequential social facts of our era” — has been signed by both gay and straight activists and thinkers from across the political spectrum.
...Even if we put aside for a moment the fact that many “traditional family values” are deeply rooted in patriarchy, is this really the best turn for the marriage-equality movement to make? If we can agree to cast away the oppressive social institution of compulsory heterosexuality, why are we so committed to keeping the institution of compulsory monogamy intact?
As a polyamorous woman, I admit to having a personal stake in that question. Families like mine, with more than one romantic partner, are seldom treated with credibility. To conservatives, we're the ultimate danger that the "slippery slope" of gay marriage might lead to. To liberals and particularly same-sex marriage advocates, we're often seen as a silly distraction from more important matters. (That is, when we are seen at all.)
But relationships like mine do exist, happily, and we want the same thing anyone wants: to have our choice of partners recognized and accepted by the world we live in. And of all the arguments I have heard against the ethics of relationships like mine, I have yet to hear any that do not rely on the same kind of "defending traditional values" reasoning that has so long been invoked against gay marriage.
I don't mean to criticize the choice to marry; I'm legally married to one of my partners, and would quite likely marry the other if multi-partner marriage ever becomes legal. And I certainly don't mean to scoff at lifelong commitment, as someone who has made not just one such commitment, but two. Nor do I wish to criticize monogamy, which is wonderful for a lot of people, but simply not right for me. What I do wish to criticize is the notion that there is any one correct way to form intimate, loving relationships....
Read the whole article (Feb. 14, 2013).
Stevens has just started a new blogsite, The Radical Poly Agenda.