Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 28, 2009

"Love is 1 man, 3 women and a bed built for 5"

Fabulous mag/ News of the World (England)

Remember the bit on the Beatles' Abbey Road album about Polythene Pam — "She's the kind of a girl, who makes the News of the World / Yes you could say she was attractively built."? The weekly News of the World is England's original trashy tabloid, full of celebrities and porn stars and scandals. It's one of the papers on which Rupert Murdoch built his empire. Depressingly, with a circulation of 3.4 million (as of 2006), it is the largest-circulation English-language newspaper on Earth.

This Sunday morning Britons are waking up to find, in its magazine insert Fabulous, a very positive (if breathless and bedazzled) feature article on a longterm poly quint living together in Cornwall. Including a sixth person who's living outside the house, they've been together for 7, 10, 15, 20, and 20 years.

Love is 1 man, 3 women and a bed built for 5

Alexandra Manning believes she’s found the secret to a perfect relationship – have four lovers! Fabulous delves under the covers of one polyamorous love-in...

By Jill Foster, Nov. 29, 2009

Sharing our lives with one other person is enough for most of us to cope with. But when 37-year-old Alexandra Manning goes to bed at night, she climbs under the duvet with four - yes, four - of her many lovers.

Because Alexandra is not interested in being a one-man woman... far from it. Her complex love life is a mind-boggling tangle of relationships with both men and women.

"I find that the more I love, the greater my capacity to love becomes," she explains. "When I care for someone, I want to share them with someone else to show how wonderful they are."

...Alexandra's romantic liaisons have been unconventional ever since she met her first true love 20 years ago....

...Today, Alexandra lives with Robert and her three girlfriends, who they've met over the last 15 years - Susan, 33, Carol, 34, and Lucy, 37. They all share a large three-bedroom house in Cornwall - and a vast home-made bed that sleeps five.

...It's an unusual set-up, but one which works for all concerned, insists Alexandra.

"I know it seems strange to most people, but I don't believe monogamous relationships are natural," she says.

Alexandra's story provides a fascinating insight into the extraordinary world of polyamory, the practice of being in more than one intimate relationship at a time with full consent on all sides. Unlike polygamy - which refers to multiple marriages, and usually involves several wives sharing one man - polyamory crosses both genders.

..."We're individuals who love each other equally. We have relationships with people outside the group, but at the core are four wonderful people who I adore....

"No one believes me when I say arguments never crop up, but they don't. If anyone felt jealous, we'd talk it through. We have one rule: complete honesty. If someone feels left out, they must say so. That way we can change things," she explains.

...Alexandra is open about her personal life and says her parents have been supportive of her unusual choices.

"From the moment I first slept with a woman, I knew I'd never go back to sleeping with just men," she says. "Sex with a man is like a big showy thunderstorm, but sex with a woman is like an ocean - there's a depth and subtlety that doesn't exist with a man."

..."We all share a bed most nights, but if someone wants to be 'coupley' - say, if I want to be on my own with Carol or Susan - the two of us will sleep in the guest bedroom," says Alexandra.

"But often, the five of us share the big bed in the main room. It's lovely being able to turn over and snuggle up to a different person. We tend not to have sex in the bed at night because everyone joins in, and then you get exhausted through lack of sleep! Instead, we'll have sex in the afternoon or early evening in one of the other rooms."

..."We've been a fivesome for so long, it would feel odd to be with just one person, man or woman. I couldn't imagine life any other way."

"I think there's something inherently unstable about a couple," adds Robert. "A bunch of people living together makes more sense."

..."The only thing I dread is when we get old and start dying, as we'll see our support network dwindle [says Alexandra]. But we don't need to think about that yet. Having sex with so many people suits us all perfectly. I can't imagine life any other way."

Read the whole article (Nov. 29, 2009).

Thanks to Leigh, whose early tip allowed me to post the first comment!

Update next day: Judging by my Google hits, the article has been republished in Ireland, Poland, Hungary, India, China, and God knows where else.



November 25, 2009

"Vancouver polyamorists to intervene in polygamy case"

Xtra (Canada)

Canada's gay-newspaper chain Xtra reports on the polys who are organizing to have a voice in the upcoming court action testing Canada's anti-polygamy and anti-polyamory law:

Vancouver polyamorists to intervene in polygamy case

Those with multiple partners argue to nix dated poly law

By Jeremy Hainsworth | Nov. 25, 2009

Canadian polyamorists are asking for help intervening in a constitutional case resulting from a polygamy case in BC.

The upcoming case before the BC Supreme Court will determine whether Section 293 of the Criminal Code, which bans polygamy, is constitutionally valid.

The next date for the case is Dec 4.

In a statement to Xtra.ca, a group of polyamorous Canadians says Section 293 infringes on their constitutional rights of association, religion, equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They say it is not appropriate for a law that criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain in place. And, they want interested Canadians either to testify in court or swear affidavits to challenge the law.

In queer circles, terms like "open" and "polyamorous" are used to describe people who don't think that relationships are for two people to the exclusion of all others. Polyamorists who engage in multiple romantic relationships often disdain polygamists, whose rigid sense of gender limits the possible permutations to one man and multiple women....

...The group of polyamorists will be represented by Vancouver lawyer John Ince, past leader of BC's Sex Party, on a pro bono basis.

The proponents say the court needs to hear from Canadians who are currently in polyamorous relationships or have been in the past, and have a desire to live in conjugal relationships in the future. They are calling for Canadian polyamorists to come forward and swear an affidavit.

They say that while it is important to hear from all people who fit such a description, it is especially important to hear from those in a male-female-female grouping.

Participants would be required to give a statement, which would be made public in court.... Those who cannot make it to Vancouver can have an affidavit sworn elsewhere for presentation to the court.

The intervenor group says polyamory is different from the alleged forced polygamy practised in religious communities such as Bountiful.

In Bountiful, the polyamorists allege, women do not have the same rights and privileges as men because the religious system itself prevents women from having multiple spouses. Polyamory, on the other hand is grounded in gender equality, self-determination and free choice for everyone involved.

...Those interested in swearing an affidavit or in appearing in court to discuss their polyamorous lifestyle should contact ms.mellyn (AT) gmail. com.

Read the whole article.

This effort is being put together by people in the Vanpoly group. Here is their recent call for participants, as well as background on the case since the beginning.

Check for news updates.

Remember — we modern, egalitarian polyamorists are a side issue in this dispute. Here's the site of Stop Polygamy in Canada arguing to keep the law. IMO, our role in this is to prevent a badly written law from criminalizing non-abusive people and situations like ours, while recognizing that actual abuse can and should be blocked and the defenseless should be protected.

Update, Jan. 14, 2010: A columnist in Xtra West argues that gays should join polyamorists as intervenors in the court case, and asks interested gays to contact him. The deadline is Jan. 28.


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November 19, 2009

Poly bliss coach Kamala Devi gets on CBS

KCAL-TV Los Angeles, and others

One of our rising stars for poly awareness is Kamala Devi, tantra teacher and "bliss coach," who is building a career on "helping you integrate your sexuality with your spirituality" and using it to aid creativity. "She specializes in working with artists, healers and visionaries. Her sessions and events are designed to activate the second chakra, which is not only the sex center but the source of creativity." (I'm just quoting, understand.)

Kamala was recently interviewed by the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles. On Monday the station aired a 3 1/2 minute profile of her and her husband Michael McClure (plus toddler) talking about the basis of their poly life. It uses a lot of video bits that she supplied herself. It may be appearing now on other CBS stations around the U.S.

Michael: The way I look at it is, we kind of have the American dream and the American fantasy.

Kamala: ...We're deeply, passionately in love. We also honor that we have attractions and relationships with other people.

Unidentified sexologist: ...In a poly group they have to master that. They have to learn to express themselves, they have to have emotional intelligence down....

Narrator: To be poly, experts say, you must have a complete line of communication, total transparency. Perhaps the biggest concern: the children involved.

Kamala: I think the first concern that people have, when they hear about our lifestyle, is like, How is that going to affect your child? [Toddler sings Itsy Bitsy Spider.] He has so much love, and so many aunties and uncles.

Watch it here (Nov. 16, 2009). Note the anchorpeople's befuddlement afterward.

Here Kamala writes about her mixed reaction to parts of the show, and her faith that she's doing the right thing regardless in exposing her life.

And here's her longer account, from a while ago, of her TV baptism by fire on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on (shudder) Fox News:

...Crushed, I took my heavy heart into my bedroom, pulled the covers over my head and cried. After allowing a reasonable pity party, Michael, bless his soul, pulled the covers off my head and said: "Kamala, you say you want to stop playing small, well, this is what it's like to play big in the world. If you don’t piss a few people off, you're probably not taking big enough risks." And that's exactly what I needed to hear....

Read the whole post (scroll down to "Fifteen Minutes of Fame").

Since then she has gone on to appear on the Tyra Banks Show, Discovery Channel, Inside Edition, and MTV’s True Life. She has just produced an instructional DVD with Reid Mihalko titled Ethics for Non-Monogamous Ninjas, "so you don't get your ass kicked on the open road of love and intimacy."

With Reid, she is collaborating on a book (and perhaps other media) called Free-Love: Can You Really Afford It?

P.S. Kamala Devi, of San Diego and New York, is not to be confused with poly columnist and alt-relationship coach Kamela Dolinova of Boston. The latter writes the Boston Open Relationships Examiner, with cogent essays and advice columns well worth a read.


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November 14, 2009

Canadian legal action: a call for polys to testify

As previously reported here, Canadian authorities are asking a court to rule that Canada's 19th-century anti-polygamy law — which provides five years in prison for polygamy or for living in a polygamous-like household or relationship, or for assisting at a group-marriage-like ceremony — is legal and enforceable today.

The long-forgotten law criminalizes most of today's poly households in Canada. In response, organizers of the Vancouver polyamory group Vanpoly are seeking Canadian polyamorists to file written affadavits, and/or speak at an upcoming hearing, on whether the law should be enforced or struck down as a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

Call for Intervenors

November 13, 2009

Court case: Upcoming BC Government’s Court Reference on the Criminalization of Polygamy and Group Marriages

The BC government will shortly put a question to the Court to test the constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which criminalizes people who practice polygamy or enter into any kind of “conjugal union” (i.e. a common-law marriage) with more than one person at the same time. Intervenors will have as little as 3 weeks to respond with court applications and affidavits.

It is important that polyamorists who are interested in being married to more than one person, or are living with more than one person, make the court aware of their interests and the legal arguments that the law is unconstitutional, because it infringes their Canadian Charter rights of association, religion (i.e. Wiccan or Pagan), equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person. It is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books, even if it is not presently being enforced. The more polyamorous interveners there are, the more strongly the court will hear this position.


Who are we?

We are individual members of the Vancouver polyamory community and are active members or coordinators in Vanpoly (www.vanpoly.ca), who have joined together to coordinate an intervention by polyamorists so that the court can hear our stories and arguments. We have experience in organizing politically and legally. One of our members has offered to act as pro bono legal counsel and has successful experience in mounting constitutional challenges to Canada’s criminal code. We are also liaising with other civil and legal rights groups who are also following the BC government closely in this matter.

What are the steps in the process?

First, and as soon as possible, we need to identify potential intervenors and get their stories. When the government asks the court about the legality of this legislation, we want to be ready to finalize the sworn statements of intervenors and apply to the court within the 3 week period. If our application to the court is accepted, we will then prepare legal arguments in support of the above position, that it is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books. It is expected that this process will need to go very quickly.

Qualifications of an Intervenor

We are in immediate need of identifying as many potential intervenors as possible so that polyamory can be properly represented.

If you are a Canadian Resident:

1) currently living with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships, or

2) have engaged in polyamorous relationships either in the past or currently AND have a desire to live with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships in the future

then we ask you to email us.
While we are interested in hearing from ALL people who fit the above criteria, we are especially interested in having at least one female in a MFF (male-female- female) grouping.

What would it mean to be an intervenor?

1. You would need to give legal counsel some facts as to your polyamorous lifestyle which would be written up in a statement, which you will be asked to swear on oath is true. This statement would be filed in court. Your name and your address along with the statements in your affidavit would then be public. However, you would NOT need to name your partners.

2. You may find that your name and other information in your affidavit is in the news. You would NOT need to speak to media or answer their questions, as you could refuse to respond to any media enquiries.

3. You would NOT need to incur court costs. You would need to pay for the affidavit to be sworn if you are in a city other than Vancouver. (If this is a concern, please advise and we will look for donations toward the cost.)

Who do I contact for more information or to offer to be an intervenor?

Please email Melly at ms.mellyn (AT) gmail. com.

Thank you for your attention to this.

Note that pro bono legal counsel is available.

Some background: Here is the fundamentalist-Mormon polygamy case in British Columbia that resurrected the law, here is news of how and why the case was thrown out, and here is news of the authorities, including the federal Canadian government, now moving to establish the law's validity and enforceability.

And here is the law in question, in its entirety (Section 293 of Canada's Criminal Code):

(1) Every one who

(a) practices or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practice or enter into

(i) any form of polygamy, or

(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Evidence in case of polygamy

(2) Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse.


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November 9, 2009

Another college newspaper weighs in

The Daily Aztec (San Diego State U.)

The 34,000 students at San Diego State University get enthusiastically introduced to the concept of polyamory in this morning's daily student newspaper.

Polyamorists multiply their love by sharing

By Andrea Mora, Contributor

Polyamory differs greatly from monogamy with an emphasis on sharing infinite love with more than one person. Although polyamory isn’t as common as the typical monogamous relationship, there is a passionate community of people who follow this lifestyle. For polyamorists, this practice allows for balanced and ideal relationships.

Imagine loving someone so much that sharing him or her with someone else would be ideal. Not only that, by sharing him or her, jealousy and infidelity would be thrown out the window because there would be no secrets or affairs, just people loving other people. For those who practice polyamory, this scenario is not only perfectly fine but, it’s ideal — the more the merrier.

“You have the capacity to fall in love with multiple people,” Kamala Devi, author, sex and relationship coach, and organizer of www.meetup.com/sdpoly said. “Being in a polyamorous relationship is a commitment to making that work with all those involved in an open and honest way.”

Devi, a bisexual polyamorist, is married and shares a girlfriend with her husband, Michael McClure. He has lovers whom Devi knows about but does not share and vice versa. Both are engaged in long-term relationships with other people and refer to their lovers as their “poly partners of choice.”

...Compersion, the joyful feeling that comes from knowing the person one loves is loved by another, is also a core belief of polyamory. Overcoming jealousy is a sign of emotional maturity.

Devi, who hosts monthly potlucks, said she has seen heightened interests in the last five years and is thrilled San Diego has a fairly large and active polyamorous community.

...“I realized that my nature fit in with the polyamory philosophy,” [Jasen] Hansen said. “It was not about getting into as many women’s pants as I could. It was that I could care for more than one person and I felt like I was denying part of myself by not allowing that to be expressed.”

...Some members of SDPoly currently practice monogamy but are open to the idea of polyamory. Member Ryan Pearson said he prefers monogamy but can see the pros and cons of both lifestyles. “(Polyamory is) loving someone deeply, wholly and completely without having the need to possess them,” Pearson said. “Many people that are in monogamous relationships have certain possessive ways of being, often with an underlying fear of losing that person.”

Others say they are happily satisfied being monogamous. “I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for over a year,” member of SDPoly Ryan Altman said. “(We) may try alternatives in the future, but for now (I) am digging the one-on-one thing.”...

Read the whole article (Nov. 9, 2009) and leave a comment.


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