"Triads: Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs... or Whatever"
Charles Colson, of Watergate fame, was the spectacularly thuggish chief counsel for President Richard Nixon1 and graduated from my high school, which was noted for producing preppie prigs. Colson says he became a better man when he found Christ (while awaiting arrest), and after his time in prison he took up the cause of prison reform. Today Colson runs the Prison Fellowship and other evangelical projects, including a daily commentary that claims to be distributed to 2,000 radio stations. Finding religion, however, did not seem to improve his respect for the rest of us and our rights and freedoms.
Yesterday Colson was on about polyamory, bemoaning the slippery slope from gay marriage to triad marriage — echoing Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor several days before:
Earlier this month, Maine became the fifth state — and the fourth in New England — to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Five thousand miles away in Hawaii, Sasha and Janet Lessin are hoping to build on New England’s example.
If they are successful, no one can seriously claim to be surprised.
Writer Abby Ellin described how the Lessins gathered with friends and held what was dubbed a “commitment ceremony.” The “commitment” being celebrated wasn’t a renewal of their marriage vows — it was the incorporation of a third party, “Shivaya,” into their so-called “triad.”
That’s the word the Lessins and other advocates of “polyamory” call a relationship between three people. Unlike bigamy and polygamy, in which one man has multiple wives, in a “triad,” each party is a “spouse” to each of the other parties. In the Lessins’ case, “Shivaya” is both Sasha’s and Janet’s “husband” and vice-versa. Or whatever.
...As courts never fail to tell us, one man’s discomfort is another man’s irrational prejudice. Besides, in a culture like ours, attitudes can change quickly. If I had told you in 1984 that, by 2009, same-sex “marriage” would be legal, would you have believed me?
That’s why advocates of polyamory emphasize their “commitment” to the other members of the “triads.” The more comfortable people become with these kinds of arrangements, the closer people like the Lessins come to their stated goal: that is, in their words, being able to “walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand” and also enjoying “all those survivor and visitation rights and tax breaks and everything like that . . .”
Of course, many advocates of same-sex “marriage” insist that this can’t happen. But if feelings and commitment define a marriage, what’s to stop “triads” from being the “next frontier of nuptials?”
Read the whole commentary (May 22, 2009).
For all the hysteria that people like this try to raise, they certainly help us one way. They spread the knowledge to millions of people whom we're never going to reach that it is actually possible for three or more people to form deep lovers' commitments successfully and sustainably, to the point that they "walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand." In denouncing it, they normalize it. The big chunk of America that lives inside the evangelical echo chamber may imagine by now that the whole secular world is full of these groups, walking around happy as birds.
They will remember this if, someday, Cupid happens to shoot multiple arrows their own way.
1 My wife Sparkler comments, "With enemies like this, who needs friends?" Among other things while in the White House, Colson co-ordered the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office to get therapy notes with which to smear or blackmail him; sought to hire Teamster thugs to beat up antiwar demonstrators and break up demonstrations (Nixon's basij force); and proposed firebombing the Brookings Institution and stealing documents while firefighters were in the building. He drew up Nixon's famous enemies list, which was dangerous to be on. A fine spokesman for moral causes. Sources:
John Dean's book Blind Ambition (1976), pp. 35-39
Fred Emery's book Watergate (1995). pp. 47-48; it references Nixon's
memoirs regarding firebombing.