Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

January 27, 2006

"A Marriage of Many?"

Southern Voice

"Is gay marriage a slippery slope toward legal polygamy, or are conservative warnings a red herring?" asks the Southern Voice, a gay newspaper in Atlanta. This long article (dated January 27, 2006, on the paper's website) looks at the tension between some gay-rights activists and advocates for other sexual minorities, polyfolk in particular:

Each time Dani Eyer attends a forum to advocate marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, she knows the first question to expect at the end of her speech.

"What about polygamy?" an audience member inevitably asks Eyer, executive director of the ACLU of Utah. "Will gay marriage lead to legalized group weddings?"

Each time, Eyer answers affirmatively.

"The ACLU of Utah has traditionally advocated that personal relationships between consenting adults are protected by the Constitution, and that freedom of religion and freedom of expression are fundamental rights," Eyer says, citing the her ACLU chapter's official stance on polygamy since 1989.

"Criminal and civil laws prohibiting the advocacy or practice of plural marriage are constitutionally defective," she adds. "Neither the polygamists nor the proponents of same-sex marriage are wild about the analogy, but we do see the two as similar concepts."...

...Harlan White understands why Wolfson and other gay rights leaders don't advocate on behalf of him and his dozen intimate lovers, but he's disappointed that they claim not to see the link between gay rights and the acceptance of polyamory.

"What is kind of sad is the impression some gay leaders can give that they believe somehow monogamy is inherently better than polyamory," says White, a heterosexual Seattle resident who has been in polyamorous relationships with women and male "co-lovers" since the early '90s.

"I notice when people of one minority group try to relate to the mainstream, there's an unfortunate tendency to point to another minority group and say, 'We may be different from the mainstream, but we're not like them,'" White adds. "... we shouldn't have to sell ourselves to society by being better than other people."

Other interviewees note that the poly community is making no push for legalized group marriage — the community is too poorly organized, and many members don't want state regulation in any case.

I particularly like the article's closing quote by Theresa Brennan, organizer of PolyCamp NW and known on the internet as Tree:

"The slippery slope argument is overused," she says. "Giving blacks the vote, women the vote, contraception — it's all a slippery slope to a place of better social justice and acceptance."

Read the whole article.

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