"Poly-Baiting: Why We Need a More Inclusive LGBT Movement"
Huffington Post Gay Voices
The gay world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that yes, gays are more non-monogamous than straights, and yes, it's okay to talk about it, and no, gay-rights campaigners should not be spooked into denying it, throwing allies under the bus, and carrying water for the right wing.
From a student publication at Princeton, picked up by Huffington Post Gay Voices:
Poly-Baiting: Why We Need a More Inclusive LGBT Movement
By Vivienne Chen
Anti-LGBTQ campaigners have often used the issue of polyamory or rather, a twisted media presentation of "polygamy," which is distinct from ethical nonmonogamy and polyamory as a slippery-slope argument against LGBTQ equality, particularly when it comes to marriage.
The worse thing about this? LGBTQ activists left and right take the bait.
Just take a minute and watch this short video (TRIGGER WARNING: Rick Santorum):
Notice the crowd's reaction to his statements:
Santorum: Are we saying that everyone has the right to marry?
Santorum: So anyone can marry anybody else?
Santorum: So anybody can marry several people?
Crowd: [Mutterings and incoherent babbles of "No!"]
Cut to Santorum getting booed off the stage.
The problem is Santorum is right....
He's right in the sense that once we realize it's stupid to keep any two loving, consenting adults apart, we may start wondering whether it's equally stupid to keep three or more loving, consenting adults apart....
...If LGBTQ activists continue to say that relationships are really about committing to the people we love regardless of gender, race, creed, etc., then maybe society should allow us to commit to the people (plural) we love....
The fact is that the struggles of the poly/NM [nonmonogamy] community are not unfamiliar to the LGBTQ world. Couples in open relationships have lost their jobs and even custody of their children after people around them outed them as polyamorous. Sound familiar?
By distancing themselves and trying to divorce their struggle from the struggle of the poly/NM community, LGBTQ progressives end up throwing another sexual minority indeed, a minority within their own minority under the bus (a significant contingent of the poly/NM community is queer/bi and vice versa)....
Read the whole article (Mar. 20, 2012). It originally appeared on Equal Writes, "Feminism and Gender Issues at Princeton University" (Feb. 25, 2012).
As I've said before: If you accept the framing of civil rights and social acceptance as a slippery slope down, you've lost the debate before you open your mouth. Slipping on a slope is a painful accident that leads downward. Instead, reframe it as a stairway up. Each step is a deliberate, effortful, carefully chosen advance toward a more humane, just, enlightened world.
With that framing, you can consider which steps are upward, and which steps to take.
Or as Tree of Polycamp Northwest fame once put it, awkwardly,
Giving blacks the vote, women the vote, contraception — it's all a slippery slope to a place of better social justice and acceptance.
Whether legal recognition of complex marriages would make sense is a different, knottier problem from a purely practical standpoint, as I've described here.