Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

January 20, 2012

Loving More responds to Newt Gingrich news

Of course you're following the Newt Gingrich circus. Last night, two days before the crucial South Carolina Republican primary, Gingrich's second wife Marianne went on TV to say he asked her for an open marriage so he could carry on his affair with Callista Bisek, who became his third wife. When asked about it at last night's Republican debate, Gingrich furiously turned a righteous tirade of blame on... the news media.

Some commentators (such as Stephen Colbert this morning) are saying, "At least he was enough of a gentleman to ask permission." This misses two points that, if Marianne is telling the truth, make the episode an awful example of unresponsible non-monogamy:

1) He carried on the affair for six years before asking, and

2) Apparently it wasn't a discussion, it was an ultimatum: open marriage or divorce.

Last night Loving More director Robyn Trask issued a press release:

Polyamory as a Right and an Issue Enters the Mainstream and GOP Presidential Debate

...Loving More is both pleased and concerned to see the issue of polyamory and open relationships coming into the mainstream conversation.

It is about time this important issue is being discussed. What is of concern to polyamorist leaders is a true understanding the definition polyamory and open relationships, as well as some people associating polyamory — open honest non-monogamous relationships — with cheating.

Gingrich cheated on his wife and then after the fact offered to open his marriage. Polyamory is defined on Loving More Nonprofit's website: "Polyamory refers to romantic love relationships with more than one person, honestly, ethically, and with the full knowledge and consent of all concerned." A full FAQ can be found at the Loving More website as well as commonly used terminology.

Loving More recommends people be honest and communicate with their partner when they are even considering open relationships or polyamory. Cheating and then asking for openness almost never works. Trust, which is so essential to a healthy relationship, is undermined when we deceive and lie to a spouse or partner.

Polyamory and other forms of ethical non-monogamy are about being honest, authentic and transparent with our partner/s; it is about commitment and honoring agreements. Very few human beings are truly monogamous and it is time that people begin to understand that with billions of people in the world, relationships can come in many shapes and sizes. Monogamy is a beautiful choice for many, but it is not for everyone. Loving More recommends people be honest with who they are....

We'll see if Robyn gets any traction in the press.

All this is sure to make for interesting discussion at Loving More's upcoming Poly Living conference in Philadelphia February 10–12. (I'm the keynote speaker.) I hope to see you there.

For the record, here is Loving More's statement of what it's about:

What we believe

Loving relationships and healthy families can come in many beautiful and valid forms. How people choose to experience relationships and love is an individual and personal choice. Through education about polyamory and other relationship or love styles, we hope to allow people the freedom to be open and honest about their personal love and relationship choices, without fear of the prejudice or hardships that being non-traditional can bring. Through education, publicity and research, we intend to open the door to freedom and safety for those who choose polyamory as individuals and as families.

Loving More® is a national non-profit corporation and 501(c)3 charity, educational website, online community, and magazine dedicated to the support and education of polyamory and polyamorous issues, supporting the polyamorous community both nationally and internationally for more than 25 years....

UPDATE: Here's a nice item: a press release from the Institute for Public Accuracy, which is headquartered in the National Press Building in Washington, DC, and bills itself as offering "Reliable Independent Sources for Breaking News":

"Open Marriage"?

Friday, January 20, 2012

SARAH TAUB, sarah@sarahtaub.com, http://www.sarahtaub.com
MICHAEL RIOS, michael@rios.org, http://www.michaelrios.com

Taub and Rios teach workshops on relationships including on open relationships and polyamory and are frequent presenters at polyamory conferences, such as those put on by Loving More, a national polyamory organization, which just released a statement on Gingrich: http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2012/01/loving-more-responds-to-newt-gingrich.html

Taub said today: "Successful open relationships are consensual and based on trust, mutual respect and lots of communication. It’s very difficult (though not impossible) for a cheater to 'come clean' and create an open marriage with his or her spouse, because the initial situation is inherently non-consensual and trust has already been broken. Some extraordinary people can make it work, but the cheater must have a huge amount of humility, patience and respect for the other partner, including respecting his or her right to say 'no.' This is not how Marianne Gingrich described Newt Gingrich’s approach."

Rios said today: "Open marriages are consensual, honest and based in love. Saying 'let me have an affair or I'm going to divorce you' is not consensual -- it’s coercive. Being married and then waiting to come clean until after you've started an affair is is not open or honest. If Gingrich had approached his wife with his feelings beforehand, perhaps she would have said, 'yes, well, actually I’ve been thinking about that possibility myself,' and then they could have honestly had a healthy, open marriage. But what we're hearing about is an affair that started in deception and ended in coercion -- and that's neither loving, nor honest, nor consensual. It's not an open marriage or polyamory by any stretch of the imagination.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

As a result of this, writes Sarah, on Saturday

Michael and I are scheduled to be on a radio talk show with Michael Zwerling of KSCO Santa Cruz, CA. It's the "Saturday Special" show, 10 am to 12 noon PST -- that's 1 pm to 3pm EST.

You can listen to the show live online -- the link is buried below the fold, on the left, at http://www.ksco.com

The number to call in is 831-479-1080.

Wish us luck! Zwerling seems to be a right-wing libertarian, so it should be lively.

Lots more stuff is flooding my inbox. New post soon.


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Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

A Guardian article about the news:


Thank you.

January 20, 2012 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Gary Swing for President of Arizona said...

A Witch Turned Me Into a Newt… But I Got Better

The outcome of South Carolina’s presidential primary has presented a mixed message for the American sheeple. On the positive side, the fact that Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina each chose different primary partners shows that voters are ready for some variety in their electoral relationships. The victory of Newt Gingrich in South Carolina’s Republican primary has demonstrated that right wing fascists in the south don’t believe in their own anti-sexual agenda of cultural warfare and intolerance. Moreover, the total lack of public interest in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination underscores the fact that voters are sick of having two identical authoritarian parties that offer no hope of real change. Looking forward to February 28, the state of Arizona is so tired of the Democrats mimicking the Republican Party’s fascist agenda, that they have chosen to not even bother with the nonsense of holding a Democratic presidential primary. I, for one, am pleased to have more than six million Arizona residents join me in saying good riddance to the Democrats! While a three way could be fun, this bodes well for a two-way race between the dimwitted, reactionary Republican Party’s nominee and the brilliant, progressive Green Party’s candidate in November.

Although I am somewhat displeased with Newt Gingrich’s public support for genocide, I am heartened that he has surpassed Mormon candidate Mitt Romney with his bold stance rejecting the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. I applaud his idealism in asking the second of his three wives for an “open marriage” – even though he waited until the sixth year of his affair had passed before issuing his ultimatum of polyamory or divorce. Stephen Colbert, an unsuccessful candidate for president of the United States of South Carolina, made an astute observation about Gingrich when he said: “At least he was enough of a gentleman to ask permission.” (Eventually.) As someone who has been involved exclusively in open relationships for more than 13 years, I share Gingrich’s apparent belief that polyamory is theoretically the ideal relationship model, even though it doesn’t work in practice. Each of us owns our own body, and we should be free to share it with any willing adults. I agree with George Bernard Shaw, who said that: “Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error.” As the great sage Woody Allen once observed, “Sex between two people is a beautiful thing. Between five, it’s fantastic.”

Now that southern conservatives are willing to accept non-traditional relationships, I hope that we can finally put the bogus issue of gays in the military to rest together. Can we all agree now that there is nothing wrong with people of the same gender loving one another? And perhaps there might be something wrong, however undefinable, about cheering for the mass murder of millions of darker-skinned people in impoverished nations, in the name of patriotism?

My invisible pink unicorn and I feel greatly unsettled by Newt Gingrich’s position that atheists should not hold public office. The notion that someone must pray to an imaginary entity in order to hold a position of power is patently absurd and inconsistent with a constitutional form of government. Separation of church and state is a defining principle of the United State of Arizona. Personally, I have a diverse background as a canonized Saint of the Universal Life Church, an ordained minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism, and the son of a Presbyterian minister. Despite my deep and abiding faith that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, beer volcanoes, a midget, and a tree, I am willing to tolerate people who have not been touched by His noodly appendage. Can you say Ramen?

Gary Swing
Green Party candidate for President of Arizona


January 22, 2012 4:59 AM  
Anonymous Gary Swing said...

I strongly disagree with my position, and I would like to challenge myself to a debate. :-)

My post above was the first draft of a satirical statement that I wrote for a political reality competition called "Project White House." The problem with this satire is that it's based on the faulty premise that Newt Gingrich sought to have an open marriage.

Here's what actually happened in the South Carolina Republican Presidential debate. Congressman Newt Gingrich admitted that he lied to his second wife for six years while having a sexual affair with a Congressional staff member who was twenty years younger than him, at the same time that he was supporting the impeachment of Bill Clinton for receiving oral sex from a White House intern. However, Gingrich vehemently denied allegations by his second wife that he had asked for for an "open marriage" after cheating on her for six years. Southern conservatives applauded Gingrich for being a lying, cheating hypocrite who angrily denied that he had ever tried to be open and honest. Dan Savage had an excellent editorial in the New York Times about Gingrich's angry denial. Gingrich's position, and the public support that he has received, demonstrates that it is more socially and politically acceptable to lie and cheat than it is to be open and honest.


Gary Swing

January 24, 2012 9:18 PM  

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