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

August 1, 2006

"Two Mommies and a Daddy"

The Christian Century
The main argument against polyamory that the Right seems to be settling upon is not one of sexual morality, or STDs, or even the "redefinition" of marriage, but rather, "What about the children?"

"The following article," comments Anita Wagner of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, "was written by Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values. Her organization is the one we should consider the opposition above all others. It receives a substantial portion of the millions of taxpayer dollars the Bush Administration shells out each year in support of protecting traditional marriage and to which we alternative-family advocates have zero access. These are the people who get all the funding to conduct studies on family issues, especially regarding what is, and according to their researchers is not, the kind of family scenario that is good for kids.

"Marquardt takes a fairly even tone here, but that shouldn't fool us." The article appears in the Christian Century, one of the oldest and largest mainstream Christian magazines, and is dated July 25, 2006:

...Besides this movement for polygamy ("many marriages"), there is a movement on behalf of polyamory ("many loves"). Polyamory involves relationships of three or more people, any two of whom might or might not be married to one another. Whereas polygamists are generally heterosexual, polyamorous people variously consider themselves straight, gay, bisexual or just plain "poly." Polyamorists distinguish themselves from the "swingers" of the 1970s, saying that their relationships emphasize healthy communication and what they call "ethical nonmonogamy."

Polyamorous unions have been around for a while, but now they and their supporters are seeking increased visibility and acceptance....

The topic is also emerging at the cutting edge of family law. Dan Cere of McGill University cites some examples, including: a substantial legal defense of polyamory published by University of Chicago law professor Elizabeth Emens in the New York University Law Review; a major report, "Beyond Conjugality," issued by the influential Law Commission of Canada, which queried whether legally recognized relationships should be "limited to two people"; and An Introduction to Family Law (Oxford University Press), in which a British law professor observes that "the abhorrence of bigamy appears to stem... from the traditional view of marriage as the exclusive locus for a sexual relationship and from a reluctance to contemplate such a relationship involving multiple partners."

...Web sites for practitioners of polyamory devote considerable space to the challenges of being a poly parent. On a blog at LiveJournal.com, one mom says, "Polyamory is what my kids know. They know some people have two parents, some one, some three and some more. They happen to have four. Honestly? Kids and polyamory? Very little of it affects them unless you're so caught up in your new loves you're letting it interfere with your parenting."

...A different set of challenges to the two-person understanding of marriage and parenthood is emerging from medical labs. Scientists are experimenting with creating artificial sperm and eggs and fusing them in unexpected ways.... Responding to donor-conceived adults who say they desperately wish to know and have a relationship with their sperm-donor fathers, expert commissions last year in New Zealand and Australia recommended allowing sperm and egg donors to opt in as third legal parents for children.

Such a move promises to create as many problems as it solves. Just one likely result: as soon as children are assigned three or more legal parents, the argument for legalizing group marriage will almost certainly go something like this, "Why should children with three legal parents be denied the same legal and social protections as children with only two parents have?"

Pity the children. We frequently see the havoc wreaked on children's lives when two parents break up and fight over their best interests. Imagine when three or more adults break up and disagree over the children to whom each has an equal claim. How many homes will we require children to grow up traveling between to satisfy the parenting needs of all these adults?

If two parents are good for children, are three even better? ...Is the two-parent, mother-father model important for children, or does it just reflect a passing fixation of our culture? The debate is upon us.

Read the whole article.



Anonymous Bill said...

I wouldn't call the Christian Century a product of the right, as your first line seems to imply. It's generally very friendly toward progressive issues, and comes under regular attack by the religious right. Nothing wrong with pointing out where they're in error, but let's not deamonize the people who are -- more often than not -- our friends.

August 20, 2006 11:58 PM  

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