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

April 12, 2008

Texas polygamy raid leads to polyamory on Voice of America

Voice of America TV

The news this week has been full of the police raid on a compound of polygamist Mormons (FLDS Church) in Eldorado, Texas. In brief: police say an underage girl called a hotline pleading for rescue from beatings and forced sex; by the time the raid was over authorities were holding 416 children, accompanied by 139 women; read all about it anywhere on the news.

In the midst of this, board members of Loving More, the nonprofit polyamory education and support group, wondered aloud in a meeting if/when the media frenzy would reach us.

"It didn't take long," board member Anita Wagner writes on her Practical Polyamory blog. "First thing Wednesday morning I had an e-mail from [Voice of America] reporter Carolyn Presutti, asking for comments on how polyamorous families compare and contrast to FLDS polygamous families."

Voice of America is a government-run news and culture service that broadcasts mainstream, middle-of-the-road radio and TV to many countries around the world. You can watch its 3-minute TV report on the Texas raid here. Wagner appears on camera briefly near the end:

Reporter: Some people, like Anita Wagner, support polyamory, or having multiple partners without officially marrying them. Wagner has three partners.

Wagner: We support them and their choice to be in those relationships. When you get into dealing with the children and getting child brides involved, that's where — our community would not be comfortable with that, and would vocally object to it if it were to happen in our community.

Wagner says, "My comments emphasizing that polyamorists tend to value egalitarianism were not included."

Two points:

First, it's interesting that a news organization that prides itself on being responsible and objective would think it should include a polyamory spokesperson to state the difference from what's going on in Texas.

Second, one of the reasons why I support Loving More (and think you should too) is because it helps provide the mainstream media with quick access to such excellent spokespeople for us.

If you see any other coverage of the Texas raids that touches on polyamory, please let me know so I can include it here. Email me at alan7388 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Cherie L. VeArd (Serolynne) has a nice essay explaining the differences between polyamory and religious polygamy, in case you need to point someone to it.

P.S.: A note about who's "Mormon": Mainstream Mormons — members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the LDS Church — object to the fundamentalist Mormons being called "Mormon" at all, because the LDS Church renounced polygamy in earthly life in 1890 (though it remains the expectation for good LDSers in the afterlife). However, the use of the word is correct. "Mormon" refers to anyone who takes Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon as holy writ. There are thus several Mormon sects or denominations, of which the LDS Church is the largest.

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Blogger Anita Wagner Illig said...

Because of the way the rough video was edited, it isn't clear who I was saying we support. By saying "We support them and their choice to be in those relationships" I was referring to the FLDS. I had also said that we support them as long as everyone is an adult and fully consents to being involved. That didn't make it in, either, unfortunately


April 12, 2008 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the sad things about opening your mouth to any reporter is that you can *count* on not being quoted completely, and it's a real crap shoot as to how far out of context anything you say will be taken. I think this could have been done better, but it also could have been done much worse.

April 13, 2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger Alan said...


> you can *count* on not being quoted
> completely, and it's a real crap
> shoot as to how far out of context
> anything you say will be taken.

That is why you need an experienced media person who knows how to speak in sound bites, so that any small piece of an interview that gets used will convey the message correctly.

This is less important for print media than it is for radio and, even more so, TV.

Excellent advice for anyone with a sex-positive position who's planning to go on TV:

or if that URL gets broken,


April 17, 2008 10:27 AM  

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