Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

June 30, 2015

Jessica Bennett talks back to Roberts regarding her Newsweek poly article, and other developments.

Remember Jessica Bennett? She wrote the famous and much-quoted Newsweek online feature six years ago about poly shaping up as America's next big development in relationships.

John Roberts cited my article in his dissent on marriage equality. He missed the point.

I dissent, Mr. Chief Justice!

By Jessica Bennett

...So it was almost comical to see my work used against [the gay marriage] cause last week by the Supreme Court of the United States. In his dissent in the court’s gay marriage ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts cited my 2009 article for Newsweek: “Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?”.

This was not an article about the LGBT community at all. Rather, it was about a group, polyamorists, from whom gay rights activists have long attempted to distance themselves specifically to avoid the kind of association Roberts drew.

...I had spent time shadowing a polyamorous family in my hometown, Seattle.... This particular family was a triad: that is, a woman at the center, two men as her partners, living under one roof, with a married couple on the side, the wife of whom was dating one of the two men and the husband dating the woman at the center. They lived in a lakeside community full of good Seattle liberals and lots of money; they had three dogs and a vegetable garden and they often took walks along the water, hand in hand in hand.

...What they weren’t looking to do at all, though, was to “redefine marriage” — as gay marriage critics have so often put it. They were looking to break the shackles of the institution altogether. “The people I feel sorry for are the ones who don’t ever realize they have any other choices beyond the traditional options society presents,” one poly man told me.

I’d gone in a skeptic, but emerged with a set of characters who raised convincing philosophical, and even biological, questions about relationships, jealousy, tradition and institutions — and whether humans were meant to be monogamous in the first place. It had occurred to me that the case for polyamory on the pages of a national magazine might ruffle feathers; it was low-hanging fruit for conservatives who would argue, like Roberts, that polyamory was another milestone on the slippery slope toward… social breakdown, chaos, sexual deviance, you name it. But as part of the argument against one of the most significant rulings of the last 50 years? Next to a New York Post citation?! It was hilarious — but only because it was on the losing side of a close vote.

“If not having the opportunity to marry ‘serves to disrespect and subordinate’ gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same ‘imposition of this disability,’ … serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?” the chief justice wrote in his 29-page dissent. “I do not mean to equate marriage between same-sex couples with plural marriages in all respects. There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any.”

At the Supreme Court, apparently, authorial intent only carries so much weight. ​No one involved in my Newsweek story — not the subjects, and certainly not the writer — thought there was any wider lesson to be drawn from their situation about the state of gay marriage. But don’t tell that to a chief justice (or his law clerk) hell-bent on finding grave concerns about what might happen if two people of the same sex get married.

​In this case, fortunately, love still wins.​

Read her whole article (June 29, 2015).


More in today:

● At The Federalist, Sara Burroughs writes Polyamory Is Next, And I’m One Reason Why (June 30, 2015). Amid the personal story of her and her partner's journey into poly is this perspective:

Here's how libertarianism has led me and my partner into polyamory, and why America will have to grapple with this issue next.

By Sara Burrows

...The first authority I came to see as illegitimate was government, shortly after discovering Ron Paul in 2008. I stumbled upon his campaign like a rabbit hole that led me to question all of society’s rules. Soon after, I started to question my religion — Christianity. How much of it had been made up, twisted, and contrived — in collusion with the government — to support the powers that be?

Along with the fear of God, I cast off any respect for parental authority I once had. Since the punitive, authoritarian man in the clouds was no longer real to me, who was to say children should obey their parents? I educated myself about peaceful parenting and became determined to treat my daughter as a free, autonomous person with inalienable rights, not as my property.

Gay Marriage Deepens Romantic Inequality

Government incentives for marriage — gay or straight — discriminate against single and polyamorous individuals. Part of the reason gay people are so exuberant about the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage — aside from the symbolism of wider cultural acceptance — is the bribes government gives people for committing to a lifetime of coupled monogamy.

From income-tax breaks to estate planning benefits to Social Security and insurance benefits to the right to make medical decisions for one’s spouse, there are all kinds of carrots dangled in front of Americans as rewards for getting hitched. Instead of putting unmarried individuals on equal footing with married people, the government has chosen to appease the masses by blessing another category of monogamous couples with the privileges of marriage—those of the same sex.

This is discrimination, plain and simple. It discriminates against single people who have no formal romantic relationships and a growing number of people who identify as polyamorous, who maintain multiple romantic relationships at once. The government has no business incentivizing any type of romantic or non-romantic behavior. It has no business rewarding us or penalizing us based on our relationship status.

By granting gay couples the same “privileges” as straight couples, we are widening the gap of inequality between coupled and non-coupled individuals...

Sara is a former reporter for The Carolina Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. She and her partner, Brad, are now raising their daughter together in Asheville, North Carolina, where they’ve started The Real Food Truck. In her spare time, she blogs about their new journey into polyamory at polyamorydiaries.com.

As you might expect, The Federalist prints a rebuttal, Polyamory Is Bad For Kids, Polyamorists, And Society (by D. C. McAllister, July 7). She misquotes Deborah Anapol's Polyamory in the 21st Century to the effect that poly is all horse manure all the time, rather than a string of disappointments for some too-eager newbies who can't make it work.


● A friendly piece by a staffer at Religion News Service: #LoveWins for gay couples, but for polygamy activists, the fight continues (June 30, 2015). About Roberts' dissent, Brian Pellot writes that it raises

Good, progressive questions from a man playing devil’s advocate while inadvertently advancing pro-poly rhetoric that will likely come back to bite him. Dissenting Justices Alito and Scalia asked similar poly-affirming questions during oral arguments in the case.

The fight for LGBTQ+ rights in America is far from over, but after last week’s major win, it’s worth properly reflecting on the important questions Roberts and his fellow dissenters have raised about polygamy (briefly setting aside their fear mongering motives in doing so)....

So is polygamy passé? [Is it] the next slide on our slippery slope to damnation? [Or] the next rung on our steep climb towards full civil rights and equality in America?

Whatever your take, there’s no denying that last week’s SCOTUS opinions broke our collective silence on poly rights. If Friday’s ruling was about dignity and equality, as Justice Kennedy made clear, this is a debate we must continue.

In my next post: the return of Slate's poly-dismissive William Saletan.



US News: "Polyamorous Rights Advocates See Marriage Equality Coming for Them"

A couple days ago a reporter from US News (a decades-old, well-respected mainstream news magazine) wrote and asked for poly spokespeople who would be good to talk to about the Supreme Court's gay-marriage ruling. I suggested Diana Adams and Robyn Trask, and they're among the people he quotes in his article this morning, below.

Missing from the article is his long conversation with Ricci Levy of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. She described at length why marriage rights are the wrong way to approach poly family rights. Many rights that currently accrue to marriage should accrue to any individuals, she argued, and individuals should be able to design their own families of choice by their own contracts.

Not a word of that got used. Poly marriage is what the media are obsessing about right now.

In my opinion, multi-marriage would be a poor paradigm for poly rights even if it were legally available. But that's another story (to come). Right now we have no choice but to ride the tiger, and try to steer it.

Polyamorous Rights Advocates See Marriage Equality Coming for Them

Justice John Roberts was spot-on about polygamy, advocates say.

Robyn Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown, Christine Brown and Janelle Brown from reality TV program "Sister Wives" [sued] to decriminalize polyamorous living arrangements in Utah [and have won so far –Ed.]. Other polyamorous advocates expect lawsuits seeking marriage rights.
By Steven Nelson

Like others across the country last week, a Washington, D.C., couple and their housewarming guests buzzed about the Supreme Court's ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. But they were far more interested in Chief Justice John Roberts' dissent than the majority opinion that made same-sex marriage the law of the land.

The couple – a husband and his wife – are polyamorous, and had just moved in with their girlfriend. And in Roberts' dissent, they saw a path that could make three-way relationships like theirs legal, too.

“Did you see we were mentioned by Roberts?” the husband beamed as he welcomed guests the day after the ruling. The chief justice wrote that polygamy has deeper roots in history and that the decision allowing gays to marry "would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”

“If the majority is willing to take the big leap," [Roberts] added, "it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.”

An attorney at the housewarming who works at a prominent Washington law firm tittered at the thought of repurposing gay rights arguments to sue for government recognition of plural marriages. It would be a lot of fun, he told his host, if he wasn’t saddled with corporate law work.

Roberts' analysis wasn't unique. The suggestion previously was made by judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, who in November wrote, “there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.”

Some gay marriage supporters see the analogy as far-fetched. But for polyamorous advocates it’s welcomed as a potential boost for future legal efforts.

Some advocates believe Roberts' dissent will prove as useful to the polyamorous movement as dissents written by Justice Antonin Scalia in gay rights cases were to the same-sex marriage movement. In Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case, and in 2013's U.S. v. Windsor, Scalia warned his peers were laying the groundwork for universal recognition of same-sex marriage, which other federal judges pointed to in their decisions knocking down state bans on gay marriage.

"I do think the dissent by Roberts provides a legal foothold for people seeking polyamorous marriage rights," says Diana Adams, a New York attorney who specializes in nontraditional family law. "As Roberts points out, if there's going to be a rejection of some of the traditional man-woman elements of marriage... those same arguments could easily be applied to three or four-person unions."

Adams says she's heard chatter of looming lawsuits now that the same-sex marriage issue has been resolved. She personally is interested in helping extend co-parenting arrangements for three or more people to benefit same-sex couples who cannot reproduce with each other, and she says such cases could ultimately break ground for polyamorous families.

Robyn Trask, the Colorado-based executive director of Loving More, a polyamory support organization, says she believes Roberts’ dissent will prove prophetic.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as far in the future as people think,” she says.

Trask says the marriage issue currently is “debated within our own community, similar to the gay community – there are people who don’t believe we should go after plural marriage, and there are those who do.”

A significant majority within the community appears open to the idea of marriage with multiple partners should it become legally possible. In a 2012 survey, Loving More asked more than 4,000 polyamorous people and found 66 percent were open to plural marriage, with 20 percent unsure.

There are many practical reasons to marry, Trask says, including immigration and medical decision-making rights. She has personal experience with both, marrying a Japanese partner in the late 1980s so he could remain in the U.S. and struggling for the right to speak for a female partner while she underwent surgery.

She says she once knew a married American couple who divorced so one could remarry a Canadian partner who wanted to live in the U.S. Another three-person relationship featured an American, a Canadian and a Mexican who wished to live together.

Despite the real-world benefits of legal marriage, Trask says many people living in polyamorous relationships “are in the closet and being very careful,” with a large number feeling it’s more important to protect their employment, housing and children than to lead the charge for marital rights.

But she says polyamorous partners, particularly younger ones, are increasingly “out” about their lifestyle, and believes change will come with greater swiftness than for gay people. "They blazed the trail, if you will,” she says.

Read the original: Polyamorous Rights Advocates See Marriage Equality Coming for Them (June 29, 2015).

Here are Ricci Levy's remarks as posted on the Polyamory Leadership Network (quoted by permission):

Steven Nelson is a generally fair reporter and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with him. I gave him a great deal of information about our human right to family, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and various international treaties since, as well as the refusal of the United Nations Human Rights Commission/Committee to limit the definition of family, stating that we must recognize the diversity of family today.

For the first time in the history of our country there are fewer than 50% of married households (per the census). I answered every push for a statement about whether the next battle should be for poly marriage by stressing that we should shift the conversation to our right to family, and that rights should accrue to the individual rather than be based on a relationship structure that, historically, favors marriage above all other relationships. I also stressed that I believe anyone who wishes to celebrate their relationship, no matter how many are involved, by get married should be able to do so.

As you'll see in the article, there is no mention of this conversation at all. My feelings aren't hurt. :) I suspect the frame will be poly marriage in the media for some time to come. And we will end up, I fear, if we don't push back to shift the conversation to the right to family, fighting for one "marriage" configuration after another.

Steven asked me, by the way, how we separate out the rights from the relationship. My suggestion is that rights accrue to the individual rather than being based on a relationship.

The quotes in the article are good and favorable, by the way.

And I would encourage all of you to check out a document that was drafted in April 2006 by a wonderful group that came together in response to the movement for (what was then) Same Sex Marriage: www.beyondmarriage.org.


Some other items:

● Many right-wing voices agree with how we see Roberts' dissent. For instance, blogger Amy Hall substitutes "polygamous and polyamorous groups" for "same-sex couples" into swing-justice Anthony Kennedy's landmark ruling. Sounds good to me: Justice Kennedy’s Arguments for Polygamy and Polyamory (June 27, 2015).

● Keith Pullman reposts his Why Polyamory Will Gain Acceptance Faster than gay rights (April 20, 2015).

● An enthusiastic article in South Africa's Independent Online:
Let’s legalise polyamory next?
(June 29, 2015). It's been republished several other places.

More coming.


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June 27, 2015

After Supreme Court decision, "It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy"


Just hours after yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that institutes gay marriage nationwide — and Chief Justice Roberts' dissent spelling out how the way is now wide open to multi-marriages (see my previous post) — Politico published a ringing opening shot from the left arguing that that would be just fine.

Legal recognition for polygamy is a goal not just for breakaway Mormon patriarchs and their wives, but for some fraction of modern, secular, gender-equal polyfamilies.

It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy

Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism.


By Fredrik deBoer

Welcome to the exciting new world of the slippery slope. With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this Friday legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, social liberalism has achieved one of its central goals. A right seemingly unthinkable two decades ago has now been broadly applied to a whole new class of citizens. Following on the rejection of interracial marriage bans in the 20th Century, the Supreme Court decision clearly shows that marriage should be a broadly applicable right — one that forces the government to recognize, as Friday’s decision said, a private couple’s “love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.”

The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy — yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it.

This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared....

The moral reasoning behind society’s rejection of polygamy remains just as uncomfortable and legally weak as same-sex marriage opposition was until recently.

That’s one reason why progressives who reject the case for legal polygamy often don’t really appear to have their hearts in it. They seem uncomfortable voicing their objections, clearly unused to being in the position of rejecting the appeals of those who would codify non-traditional relationships in law. They are, without exception, accepting of the right of consenting adults to engage in whatever sexual and romantic relationships they choose, but oppose the formal, legal recognition of those relationships....

...Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right.

Why the opposition, from those who have no interest in preserving “traditional marriage” or forbidding polyamorous relationships? I think the answer has to do with political momentum, with a kind of ad hoc-rejection of polygamy as necessary political concession. And in time, I think it will change....

But the marriage equality movement has been curiously hostile to polygamy, and for a particularly unsatisfying reason: short-term political need. Many conservative opponents of marriage equality have made the slippery slope argument, insisting that same-sex marriages would lead inevitably to further redefinition of what marriage is and means. See, for example, Rick Santorum’s infamous “man on dog” comments, in which he equated the desire of two adult men or women to be married with bestiality. Polygamy has frequently been a part of these slippery slope arguments. Typical of such arguments, the reasons why marriage between more than two partners would be destructive were taken as a given. Many proponents of marriage equality, I’m sorry to say, went along with this evidence-free indictment of polygamous matrimony. They choose to side-step the issue by insisting that gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy. That legally sanctioned polygamy was a fate worth fearing went without saying.

...In 2005, a denial of the right to group marriage stemming from political pragmatism made at least some sense. In 2015, after this ruling, it no longer does.

...Conventional arguments against polygamy fall apart with even a little examination. Appeals to traditional marriage, and the notion that child rearing is the only legitimate justification of legal marriage, have now, I hope, been exposed and discarded by all progressive people. What’s left is a series of jerry-rigged arguments that reflect no coherent moral vision of what marriage is for, and which frequently function as criticisms of traditional marriage as well.

...Another common argument, and another unsatisfying one, is logistical. In this telling, polygamous marriages would strain the infrastructure of our legal systems of marriage, as they are not designed to handle marriage between more than two people. In particular, the claim is frequently made that the division of property upon divorce or death would be too complicated for polygamous marriages. I find this argument eerily reminiscent of similar efforts to dismiss same-sex marriage on practical grounds. (The forms say husband and wife! What do you want us to do, print new forms?)....

If current legal structures and precedents aren’t conducive to group marriage, then they will be built in time. The comparison to traditional marriage is again instructive....

...I suspect that many progressives would recognize, when pushed in this way, that the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice. What we’re left with is an unsatisfying patchwork of unconvincing arguments and bad ideas, ones embraced for short-term convenience at long-term cost. We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism. The course then, is clear: to look beyond political convenience and conservative intransigence, and begin to make the case for extending legal marriage rights to more loving and committed adults. It’s time.

Fredrik deBoer is a writer and academic. He lives in Indiana.

Read the whole article (June 26, 2015).

● Earlier this year, in the Emory Law Journal, Ronald C. Den Otter published a lengthy analysis Three May Not Be a Crowd: The case for a constitutional right to plural marriage. From the abstract:

This Article takes seriously the substantive due process and equal protection arguments that support plural marriage (being able to marry more than one person at the same time). While numerous scholars have written about same-sex marriage, few of them have had much to say about marriages among three or more individuals. As progressive, successful, and important as the Marriage Equality Movement has been, it focuses on same-sex marriage at the expense of other possible kinds of marriages that may be equally worthwhile. The vast majority of Americans still do not discuss plural marriage openly and fairly, as if the topic were taboo. One of the goals of this Article is to convince readers that marriage in the future could be a much more diverse institution that does a better job of meeting individual needs. After all, one size may not fit all. Unfortunately, too often, scholars reduce plural marriage to the exploitation of women and the abuse of children. This approach makes it too easy to dismiss the possibility that a plural marriage might work better than the alternatives for at least some individuals in some circumstances.

Because the expansion of marriage to include same-sex couples is bound to cover a broader range of marital relationships, lawmakers, judges, and the rest of us eventually will have to decide which kinds of intimate relationships will be accorded legal status and which kinds will be left out....


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In Chief Justice Roberts' dissent: Route now wide open to multi-marriage.

And how the language in his dissent may help bring it about.

A new era for relationship rights began yesterday at the Supreme Court, and for better or for worse, we're next.

In his dissent to the Obergefell decision establishing gay marriage nationwide, Chief Justice John Roberts fired the opening shot from the right, calling out plural marriage and polyamorous relationships specifically.

From his dissent:

One immediate question invited by the majority’s position is whether States may retain the definition of marriage as a union of two people. Cf. Brown v. Buhman, 947 F. Supp. 2d 1170 (Utah 2013), appeal pending, No. 144117 (CA10). Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one. It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. If “[t]here is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices,” ante, at 13, why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise “suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” ante, at 15, why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children? If not having the opportunity to marry “serves to disrespect and subordinate” gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same “imposition of this disability,” ante, at 22, serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships? See Bennett, Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution? Newsweek, July 28, 2009 (estimating 500,000 polyamorous families in the United States); Li, Married Lesbian “Throuple” Expecting First Child, N. Y. Post, Apr. 23, 2014; Otter, Three May Not Be a Crowd: The Case for a Constitutional Right to Plural Marriage, 64 Emory L. J.
1977 (2015).

I do not mean to equate marriage between same-sex couples with plural marriages in all respects. There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any. When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” Tr. of Oral Arg. on Question 2, p. 6. But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either.

Analyst James McDonald has written,

On record, a Chief Justice has stated that:

-- Restricting marriage to couples is an arbitrary choice.
-- Plural marriages can be the product of consenting, autonomous adults, and their choice to marry is a "profound" one.
-- Children of plural marriages are subject to harmful stigma under our current legal paradigm.
-- Individuals can find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships. (Again, he didn't say polygamous relationships.)
-- Not being given the same opportunities as individuals in other relationships disrespects and subordinates individuals in polyamorous relationships.

All of these points can be used in arguments for equality beyond marriage equality — any debate over whether poly people can be denied housing, employment, or custody of children can reference Roberts' statement.

Indeed, this looks like a parallel to Justice Antonin Scalia's dissents to the court's Windsor (2013) and Lawrence (2003) decisions, in which Scalia darkly spelled out the ways in which those rulings would logically lead to requiring gay marriage nationwide. Much to Scalia's dismay, one would think, lower courts cited his language when justifying their extending gay marriage to more states. Lower courts take seriously statements from a Supreme Court justice as to what a law logically requires.

Watch for the same thing to happen with Roberts' dissent.


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June 25, 2015

"Polyamorists Assume the Missionary Position"

The Daily Beast

A Daily Beast regular writes about poly evangelism. None of the examples she quotes seem egregious to me (except for the 19th-century one), but I'm not the most objective judge.  :)

Remember — the overarching aim of our movement, as articulated by many activists and groups such as Loving More and the Polyamory Leadership Network, is relationship choice: the right to understand and live by your own relationship style, whether monogamous or open — and the responsibility to discuss this topic early, with honesty and transparency, with any potential partners. Who in turn have the right to seek partners in accord with their own needs and intentions.

Polyamorists Assume the Missionary Position

If you’re anti-monogamy [sic], a social movement awaits you. But are polyamory’s supporters too evangelical in their mission to convert the rest of us to their bed-hopping ways?

Dumb illustration: Sarah Rogers / The Daily Beast

By Emily Shire

“I’m probably the only little girl who fantasized about meeting her handsome prince and having him sweep her off her feet — and then falling in love with another guy,” Cunning Minx tells me with a laugh.

It’s a rosy, even wholesome way of framing her first childhood indications that she would ultimately identify with polyamory, a term Merriam-Webster defines as “the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.”

People who identify as polyamorous, like Minx — a sex educator who uses the pseudonym professionally, including for Poly Weekly, a podcast “devoted to tales from the front of responsible non-monogamy” — would likely pick a bone with that rather sterile definition.

According to the website for Loving More, the leading national support and advocacy group for the polyamorous community, “Polyamory refers to emotionally connected relationships openly involving three or more people. It is about honesty, integrity and respect.”

I would venture that most Americans would not be familiar with either of those definitions of polyamory. Many may not have even heard of the term.

Despite a Showtime reality television show and Loving More’s 25,000-strong database of members, polyamory is still a relatively unheard of relationship construct.

To those who have heard of polyamory, the concept is surrounded in stigma, often conflated with “swingers.”

In fact, proponents of polyamory (or just “poly” as it is colloquially referred to) are quick to point out sex with multiple people is by no means a requisite.

The term “polyamory” is “intended to differentiate emotionally connected relationships from simple coupling, casual dating around, or recreational sex,” according to the Loving More website.

Not that most of America is aware of these nuances....

In the same way that proponents of CrossFit and IUD’s love to preach their gospel, many in the polyamorous community have that same verve, passion, and, at times, a bit of a self-righteousness....

While he doesn’t think polyamory is for everybody, [Robert] McGarey certainly doesn’t think monogamy is either, and he wants to spread the gospel. In fact, he thinks the polyamorous view towards jealousy “could potentially radically transform American society.”

Poly proponents preach that the inevitable jealousy that results form dating multiple should not be ignored, but rather, owned, recognized, and studied to realize what deeper insecurity or problem is bothering you.

“Approach jealousy not as a terrible thing, but as a gift of self-awareness,” McGarey says....

Read the whole article (June 25, 2015).


June 23, 2015

"I Realized I Was Polyamorous… While Engaged to A Monogamous Person"


And another poly-mono tale appears in a millennial-oriented webmagazine. This one is happier than the one in my last post.

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Realized I Was Polyamorous… While Engaged to A Monogamous Person

When I proposed to R, there were two things I still didn’t know: That I was polyamorous, and that R was monogamous.

Sam Dylan Finch
By Sam Dylan Finch

R was a genderqueer dreamboat. Seriously.

We met during undergrad, first at a film screening and then again working in the same office on campus. They were a passionate feminist (this is a very important criterion for me), a brilliant thinker, and just as cynical about people as I was… but still down to watch an episode of Spongebob or play Wii Bowling.

My extroverted, chaotic nature pushed R out of their shell; R’s quiet, introverted nature always seemed to bring me down a notch.

In other words, R was a breath of fresh air. And our relationship, in the beginning, was so easy – almost too easy.

No one was surprised, then, when we announced our engagement a year later.... It felt like everything was finally falling into place.

But when I proposed to R, there were two things I still didn’t know: That I was polyamorous, and that R was monogamous.

Since monogamy was the default, we had never really talked about the structure of our relationship before. What structure? There was only one, right?

Somehow I had missed the signs – signs that are obvious to me now – about my polyamorous leanings.

In the past, I had always had intimate, loving friendships – noticeably deeper than other people I knew – with cuddling, hand-holding, even kissing and sleeping in the same bed. I just assumed I had a bigger heart than most.

In fact, my last relationship ended in part because I was in love with my partner and my best friend simultaneously. I assumed that meant I was confused. Deciding I was a terrible partner, I broke things off, feeling guilty but relieved....

I had never heard of “polyamory,” nor did I understand that there was nothing wrong with having deep and intimate relationships with multiple people simultaneously. I thought you could only love one person at a time, or else you were unfaithful.

It wasn’t until I lived with a polyamorous roommate that the doubts started to creep in. Could I be happy in a relationship like that? Would I be… happier?

I watched my roommate navigate polyamory in a way that seemed so effortless....

I trusted R completely – we told each other everything – and as I started to reflect on my past, we could see clearly what had been right in front of us. My intense friendships that always seemed to blur the boundaries, my crushes that sometimes seemed a little too distracting, and my wandering eye that sometimes made us both a little uncomfortable…

...When I finally said the words, R shifted and quietly responded, “But I’m monogamous. At least, I am right now.”

My first instinct was to assume it was over.... [But] from there, a new kind of relationship opened up....

...I woke up to a partner who wanted to talk through things, who wanted to establish new boundaries and explore our feelings about what happened. A partner who listened when I talked about my feelings, a partner who supported me even when we were both hurting....

...Even though I may never have complete and total romantic freedom, and R may never have the complete and total commitment that is desired, we’re happy to meet each other somewhere in the middle.

It might seem absurd to the rest of the world – how could a poly person and a monogamous person ever commit their lives to one another? But for us, this exercise in defining our boundaries and exploring our comfort zones has only solidified our love and trust in each other.

As long as we’re happy, the labels seem less important. Polyamorous, monogamous, polyflexible, monogamish, whatever – the most important thing is that it works for us.

Read the whole article (June 18, 2015). It's longish, 1,300 words.


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June 17, 2015

"I Fell For The Perfect Guy, But Not For His Open Relationship"

BuzzFeed may be the king of clickbait, but occasionally the content is worth a click. I skipped the video of a guy's impacted-earwax removal to read this monogamist's perspective on starting a relationship with a man in an open/poly marriage-to-be.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

I Fell For The Perfect Guy, But Not For His Open Relationship

By Jess Haberman

Love, to me, is simple. Love is a man who will stay over after sex (without being asked). A man who will drive on our road trips to national parks, but let me navigate. A man who knows I’m his Number One (and Only) Girl. But it took spending time as someone’s Number Two Girl — dating a man who made no secret of already having a fiancé — for me to better understand and accept the kind of relationship I really needed.

...We exchanged emoji-laden messages and goofy selfies. He was forthcoming about his “poly” (short for polyamorous) lifestyle, and encouraged questions. I grilled him. He answered them thoughtfully and sent me a Venn diagram of different types of nonmonogamous relationships. “Can I get college credit for this?” he asked.

...We discussed what it meant to be poly and to openly love many partners at a time. “Love doesn’t subtract; it multiplies,” he said. Loving isn’t the hard part, I thought. He explained that his serious girlfriend (his fiancé, in fact) was the one who had suggested they transition to an open relationship, and that he was also seeing another woman casually. It sounded complicated.

...The more we talked philosophically about relationships and about the things we had in common (video games, beer, art), the more I felt drawn to him. After slogging through interactions with lackluster guys for so long, I felt like I had emerged to find a freshwater lake glistening in the sun at the end of a long, sweaty hike....

What I facetiously called my “social experiment” with Greg was starting to matter. A close friend, who could tell I was wading in deeper than I was openly admitting, urged me to have the talk. “He should expect you to ask where this is all going, since he’s dating a monogamous girl.” A monogamous girl. That was my label.

And suddenly that concept, and in essence, part of my identity, was in question. What if I could be persuaded to bend the rules?...


And then things got weird.... When I arrived and he began making dinner, he handed me an envelope, looking a little embarrassed. “Look, I know how you feel a little weird about this whole thing. But Cassy wanted me to give this to you. I haven’t read it. I think she wanted to say hi and welcome you.”

I was curious, even if I was unnerved by this woman hand-writing a nicey-nice note to her fiancé’s lover. You be the judge of the subtext of this missive:

Dear Jess – I just wanted to say hello and welcome you to our home (though I’m positive Greg will do an excellent job in carrying that out ). Please make yourself at home — and enjoy

I look forward to potentially meeting you in the future!

Best, Cassy

Maybe it was just an effort to dispel awkwardness, since I was about to sleep in her bed. Maybe it was about establishing her territory: This is my house, this is my man, and I’m allowing you to enjoy them. Maybe she was recruiting....

The letter effectively doused any thrill I might have felt that evening....

Clueless, no? She was your metamour doing her best to be nice!

I don’t regret a minute of it. This experience made me redefine concepts that I imagined to be black and white, and I think more openly now about love and desire, marriage, and monogamy. Something that I insisted (firmly, even heatedly, at times) was not a relationship clearly was one — perhaps the most significant relationship I’ve had, in terms of personal development....

The whole article (June 17, 2015).

Update the next day: Well this gets interesting! On reddit/r/polyamory, "Greg" is speaking up about being ambushed by this story and about the duplicity the writer showed him during her dating time by hiding what she was actually thinking. Go here and do a control-F search for GregNotGreg . This is from his opening post:

Hi, so, I can give a little perspective from the other side. I'm the "Greg" from the story. I received a copy of this essay on Monday, and made this throwaway account last night because if it got posted here I'd like to tell my side of the story.

Mostly, I feel very betrayed by this. I knew she was iffy about the poly situation from the beginning, but I really liked her. We did have a great connection, but I always had that anxiety in the back of my head. When we broke things off, it was sad, but I understood that poly isn't a lifestyle for everyone, and I was happy for the experiences with her. I thought we could still be friends.

What I didn't know was that I was being used for the subject of an essay for Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed, for shit's sake. Not even a good website. In her email to me about this, one of the things she said was "The risks of dating a writer, right? It's not a great excuse, but it's all I've got."

What hurts the most for me, and also my main issue with the whole situation, is that I only found out some of this information because of this essay. She didn't tell me about most of these things when we were dating, so even though I was there for it, a lot of things came as a surprise. It was hard to find out she couldn't tell me things but then had no problem sharing them with the editorial staff at Buzzfeed and whatever other sites she sent this too. I was very open and honest with her, using clear communication. I asked for the same thing in return and what I got was to be the subject of this essay.

Curious about "Cassy's" opinion on this? She's LIVID. As many of you have figured out, the letter in question was very sincere, and something she likes to do for any new lovers I invite into our home the first time. It was a gesture of reassurance, and we're both saddened to find out it was received like this....

We opened our relationship a little less than a year ago, and it's been one big learning experience about love and relationships. This was a big learning experience for me, as well. Where she learned some deep, meaningful truth about herself, I learned about being weary of who I trust.

And now "Cassy" has joined that thread. Search it for cassynotcassy .


June 15, 2015

*Polyamory: Married & Dating* lives on.

The San Diego pod
Showtime's docu-drama series Polyamory: Married & Dating, which ran in the summers of 2012 and 2013, must be having a good afterlife. Although it ended a year and a half ago, I keep getting lots of Google hits to my old coverage of it. In fact the second-most-read item on this site in 2015 is my followup on what happened to people after the end of Season 2 — posted in October 2013.

Kamala Devi, a star of both seasons, is keeping her family's Facebook page for Showtime viewers busy and up-to-date. You no longer need a Showtime subscription to watch the series in its afterlife — it's now available on iTunes: Season 1, Season 2. ($2.99 an episode, $17.99 a season in HD; $1.99 and $12.99 in SD.)

Meanwhile, Season 1 just ended a run on German TV-SIXX.

If you're a Showtime subscriber you can still watch any episode free on demand, or on a computer or device via Showtime Anytime. This has been extended to November 2016.

Here are all the free videos from Season 1, giving a good idea of what the show was like.

All the free videos from Season 2.

Here are my many posts about Season 1, with recaps, spoilers, commentary, and notices in other media.

My posts about Season 2, even heavier on recaps.

Showtime’s Facebook page and website for the series.


And in other replay news:  The Atlantic, one of the great online magazines, put its 5,600-word article from last summer, Multiple Lovers, Without Jealousy, back on its front page for a second run. Predictably, it returned to the "Most Popular" list. Here are my news and comments about some of the people in the story, including the much-remarked age gaps.



June 14, 2015

Poly TEDx talks

If you're not up to speed on TED and TEDx talks, here's the scoop. TED originally stood for "Technology, Entertainment, Design", the name of an influential annual conference that took on more topics with time. It's now a nonprofit organization "devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less)." TED talks became a thing because they developed a reputation for quality in all kinds of subjects.

Their success gave rise to TEDx talks, which are organized on the same model by local communities. Official description: "TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, 'Ideas worth spreading.' It supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community." In addition, TEDx serves as a farm system to scout local talent for the TED major league.

Two TEDx talks specifically on polyamory are currently online.

1. The latest, just up, is by Leon Feingold of Open Love NY. He delivered it earlier this spring at TEDxBushwick (a hip district of Brooklyn). Leon is super-enthused. He writes, "My TEDx Talk is finally up! Please post! Plus, if anyone spent the 19 minutes and can spend 1 more, click the link at the top of this page and give the video a 5-star rating! If it gets enough, it will be featured on the full TED site!


Polyamorous relationships consist of individuals of multi-partner relationships and families. Leon offers an insight through his journey in finding polyamory as the means to creating intimate, valuable relationships with multiple people. Through his journey and explanation, Leon debunks myths and presents the values of polyamory.

Co-Founder and former President of Open Love NY, Leon Feingold has become a polyamory activist on a national scope. He coauthors "Poly Wanna Answer?" a monthly polyamorous relationship advice column, and has discussed polyamory on The View, Huffington Post, PolyInTheMedia, Jezebel, and other media, plus the HBO movie "Americans in Bed". In 2014 he helped launch New York's first openly polyamorous residence, here in Bushwick.

2. The other was by delivered Kel Walters last fall at TEDxUTA, at the University of Texas Arlington: "Polyamory and emotional literacy" (5:36).


Polyamory, emotional literacy and the benefits they can bring to society. Having multiple romantic and sexual relationships at the same time with all partners full knowledge and consent. Build your emotional literacy."

Tragic update: Kel Walters was killed by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light while she was crossing a street on January 16, 2015. Coverage of a memorial gathering. A friend's post.


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June 12, 2015

''Does a polyamorous lifestyle reward followers with a better life?"

Sydney Morning Herald
Western Australia Today
Brisbane Times
The Age (Melbourne)
Canberra Times

A TV journalist in Australia is intrigued by the emotional capabilities of polyfolk and makes us look kinda awesome, though she decides she's doing fine as a mono.

Her article appears on the websites of several major newspapers in Australia and New Zealand.

Does a polyamorous lifestyle reward followers with a better life?

By Katherine Feeney (CityKat)

If you're able to say, wholeheartedly, that you wouldn't be jealous if your partner shagged another person, does that mean you're more emotionally mature than the average? What about if you could say that you were not jealous, but in fact happy they had found pleasure in the arms of another, while still considering yours 'home'? Is that the sign of a well-developed, self-possessed individual?

I ask, because I have been reading a lot lately about non-monogamous relationships. The idea is cropping up in the bountiful plains of media fodder with curious regularity....

Yet the comprehensive academic investigation of polyamory is still in relative infancy. University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley has estimated that about 5 percent of Americans are in consensual nonmonogamous relationships, with other studies suggesting polyamorous individuals are well-educated, but not particularly wealthy, leading American psychologist Bjarne Holmes to conclude that the poly-oriented are "probably people who are often more focused on experiences in life than money".... More certain is that a key characteristic of the nonmonogamous individual is their ability to connect with other people above and beyond the primitive flesh. For it's generally believed those who manage multiple relationships within a consensual community are also better communicators....

...Am I really a prisoner? I admit, the idea of my husband with another woman fills me with jealousy, not compersion.... Does that mean I'm less open-minded than those in open relationships? Is my heart really so small?

I choose to believe not. I'm blissfully happy. I'm not in denial.

What about you?

Read the whole article (June 11, 2015). Or in case that doesn't work, try here.



June 11, 2015

Yahoo Parenting on poly at Twin Oaks

Twin Oaks in Virginia is often held up as one of the most successful large communes to come out of the 1960s and 70s. The intentional communities that have survived long-term have learned ways to do it right, and their examples are now spreading again... a bit.

Yahoo Parenting just published a glowing article on child rearing at Twin Oaks and on the group's social and economic structure. Far down into it, the article discusses the polyamory practiced by many Twin Oakers. It all sounds pretty excellent. Many intentional communities seem to develop a large poly contingent as a natural part of life. I'll have more to say about that, with many items that I've been waiting to tie together. But for now:

Welcome to the Commune Where 100 Adults Raise 17 Kids

By Beth Greenfield
Senior Writer

Photos: Khue Bui for Yahoo Parenting             

It’s 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday and one of the calmest school mornings I’ve ever witnessed....

...“It’s not like we’ve come up with this scientifically evolved program to create the utopian child. We don’t have that — just really common sense: We put a lot of resources into the kids. The adults are not stressed out or struggling. We don’t have people who are pregnant and stuck with a couple of kids and are miserable, or even really well-off parents who have gobs of money but no time to focus on their kids, with a nanny who does not feel very empowered. So that’s not rocket science. But it is something we do well.”

It’s not perfect, of course. Kids can feel lonely or isolated due to not having enough peers, and some parents are troubled by the lack of racial diversity here, just for starters.

Rowan, 19, with his dad, Keenan.

But there are still plenty more ways Twin Oaks does right by its youngest residents: with intense communal support among parents; opportunities for the childless to form close relationships with kids; fairly seamless co-parenting arrangements following breakups; a refreshing openness regarding the fluidity of gender and sexuality; and a striking absence of the so-called “mommy wars.” Perhaps most impressively, though, is the enviable reality of an organic work-life balance.

It all adds up to something most parents yearn for but few find: a true village, in that it-takes-a-village sort of way....


...But Adder’s attentions are divided in a way that may seem startling to the outside world: He also has another girlfriend — who in turn has her own girlfriend, as well as a toddler whom the two women co-parent together.

As it turns out, polyamory — being in a committed relationship with more than one person — is the norm at Twin Oaks (though plenty of couples are monogamous). And everyone here, it seems, takes it in stride — including the kids, say their parents, because it’s all they know. Many even count it as a child-rearing bonus.

“I think it makes a parent stronger at communication,” Claire, the mom of a 1-year-old named Grace, tells me one day. Claire, more than many at Twin Oaks, delivers beautifully when it comes to the expected, free-flowing hippie image: barefooted, long-haired, joyously mellow, and prone to allowing her milky nipples to slip out of her blouse in between Grace’s nursing sessions. “You really have to hype your communication skills to be in a poly relationship,” she explains. “And I think that’s a great thing to offer your family and your children.”

Twin Oaks has a long, strong history of thoughtful non-monogamy.... Today, that tradition continues — minus, many here agree, any confusion for the kids. Part of that is because every adult resident has his or her own bedroom, married or partnered or not, as a way to maintain a semblance of privacy within the context of everything else being shared.

As Angelica, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who has no children of her own but is an active primary to several kids, tells me, “It’s not like parents are always sleeping in the same room every night.”

Every parent I speak with is quite open about his or her various permutations of non-monogamy. Summer and Purl are among the minority of couples who have legally married, for example, but they’re also polyamorous, and Summer — who landed at Twin Oaks after a rather privileged, conventional life in Connecticut, boarding school, and a brief stint at Oberlin College — has had a boyfriend for several years.

“Anya knows he is my boyfriend, someone special to me,” Summer says about her daughter’s understanding. “I don’t think I ever need to sit down and have a talk with her, like, ‘This is what this is,’ because this is just what it is.”...

Read the whole article (June 10, 2015).

Update the next day: One of the Twin Oakers in the article (Paxus) blogs about the huge public response to it pro and con, and the community's reaction, and some history and background.

One thing he says the article failed to mention: Twin Oaks has had a waiting list for the last 7 years. And longer for families. If you're looking for a good intentional community to join, you might look elsewhere. Or get your people together and study up on how to start your own. Hint: Network for a New Culture's Summer Camp East starts in less than a month....


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June 10, 2015

Queer Women's Sex Survey: Monogamy vs. Not


The lesbian online magazine Autostraddle continues to publish results from its massive queer women's sex survey. The sample was very large, with "over 8,566 complete responses," but it doesn't represent lesbians generally: it was self-selected toward Autostraddle's perhaps edgy readers and their contacts, and toward internet users interested enough to fill out a long survey. One obvious bias appears: 89% of of the respondents were between ages 18 and 36.

With that caveat, the results are interesting. Yesterday Autostraddle analysed the monogamy-nonmonogamy dimension of the survey, with numerous crosstabs.

My quick takeaway: the survey seems to confirm the conventional assumption that queer women are much more monogamous than gay men in both orientation and practice. But among the survey's self-selected sample at least, nonstandard relationship structures seem less rare than among heteros.

From the summary at the start:

We asked survey-takers for their current relationship status. The options were “in a monogamous relationship,” “in a non-monogamous relationship of any form” and “not in a relationship.” That came out like this:

● 55.97% are in a monogamous relationship
● 29.17% are not in a relationship
● 14.86% are in a non-monogamous relationship of any form

We also asked all survey-takers for their preferred relationship style, which broke down into more specific categories:

● 61.7% chose Monogamy: An exclusive relationship between two people.
● 0.39% chose Triad: A closed relationship that involves three people instead of two.
● 0.58% chose Polyfidelity: A closed relationship with sexual and emotional fidelity required of a group that is larger than two.
● 5.3% chose Polyamory: Participants have multiple romantic and sexual partners, ideally with everybody involved being aware of and consenting to the arrangement.
● 6% chose Open Relationship: Two humans in a committed relationship decide that they’re allowed to hook up with other people, together or separately.
● 1.44% chose Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Partners are free to do whatever they want with whomever they want as long as it never becomes known to their other partner, either via direct disclosure or other obvious behavior or relationship changes. This is tricky.

Read on (June 9, 2015). At the bottom of the article are links to other poly-related Autostraddle stories.


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June 2, 2015

Happy tale: "I Grew Up in a Polyamorous Household." And another not so much.

Witherspoon Institute

A lovely story has appeared on the website of Vice — a powerhouse of an online and print magazine that aims at a young demographic. The author, raised in London, is in his twenties.

I Grew Up in a Polyamorous Household

By Benedict Smith

Kelsey Wroten

...My parents are polyamorous, a Greek/Latin mishmash word meaning romantic non-monogamy with the consent of everyone involved. As a kid, I lived with my dad, my mom, my mom's partner, and for a while, my mom's partner's partner. Mom might have up to four partners at a time. Dad had partners too. I was raised by an interconnected network of grownups whose relationships which weren't exclusive, but remained committed for years, even decades.

They first explained it to me when I was about eight. My four-year-old brother asked why James, my mom's partner, had been spending so much time with us.

"Because I love him," mom said, matter-of-factly.

"Well, that's good," my brother replied, "because I love him too."

It was never really any more complicated than that. Looking back, that's what I find most extraordinary about our situation: how mind-numbingly ordinary it all was....

I never resented my parents for hanging out with their partners. We all went on trips to the movies and narrow boat holidays together. Having more adults around the house meant there was more love and support, and more adults to look after us. Dad and James didn't get jealous or resent each other either, far from the alpha male antler clattering you might expect. They were good friends.

I do remember the first time James told me off. I was eight, and had almost toddled into traffic, when he pulled me to the pavement and shouted at me for not looking left and right. I remember thinking: Oh, this grownup is allowed to discipline me too? But it didn't take me long to realize that it also meant that another grownup had my back — and would keep me from being flattened by oncoming traffic — and that this was a good thing after all.


...Our church community, on the other hand, did find out about my parents' arrangement. We were very close to our parish at a local Anglo-Catholic church in East London — my mom even taught at Sunday school. We never lied about our family dynamic, we just didn't want to broadcast it. James was called "a family friend," which worked for a while. Eventually though, we were outed. Someone trawled the web and tracked down my mom's LiveJournal page, and word got out that my family was poly.

Most people tried to understand, but not everyone could. One family was so condemning of our parents' lifestyle that they forbade their kids from playing with us....

Good parents are good parents, whether there are one or two or three or four of them. Fortunately, mine were incredible.

...All in all, my upbringing shaped my personality for the better. I got to speak to adults from all manner of varying backgrounds, whether they were my parents' partners, or parents' partners' partners, or whoever. I lived with people who were straight, gay, bi, trans, writers, scientists, psychologists, adoptees, Bermudians, Hongkongers, people of wealth, and benefits claimants. Maturing in that melting pot really cultivated and broadened my worldview, and helped me become the guy I am today.

I never envied my friends with monogamous parents....

A lot of people ask me whether having poly parents has shaped the way I look at love as an adult, which is hard to answer. Growing up with polyamory as the norm, monogamy seemed alien and counterintuitive. We can love more than one friend or family member at the same time, so the idea that romantic love only worked linearly was befuddling. I'm in my 20s now, and I tend to have multiple partners (though that's more my libido than a philosophical conviction). I don't consider myself poly, but I am open to having either multiple partners or just one.

Life is mostly pain and struggle; the rest is love and deep dish pizza. For the cosmic blink of a moment we spend on this tiny dust speck of a planet, can we simply accept that love is love, including love that happens to be interracial, same-sex, or poly? Discrimination against love is a disease of the heart—and we get enough of that from the pizza.

Read the whole article (June 2, 2015).


This piece stands in quite a contrast to a tale of poor parenting that's been going around Christian conservative sites in the last three weeks. It seems to have originated from the Witherspoon Institute, a leading culture-war think tank located in Princeton, NJ, and co-founded by Princeton professor Robert P. George of anti-gay-marriage fame.

Polyamory Isn’t Good for Children: My Story

By James Lopez

Redefining marriage increases the chances that children miss out on one of the greatest gifts any person can be given: being raised by the man and woman whose love brought them into existence.

Recently, I had a discussion about marriage with someone who calls herself a “Darwinian gay feminist.” I asked her, “Is there any principled reason that marriage should be limited to only two people? There is now such a thing as a ‘throuple’ — a three-way relationship. Should they have a right to marry?”...

This isn’t just a hypothetical question. Last April, the New York Post published a story with this headline: “Married lesbian ‘throuple’ expecting first child.”

...My own childhood gave me a glimpse of what it is like to be raised in such a household.

I grew up in a household living with not only my mother and father, but also my half-brother and his mother. My father had two kids: one with my mom (me) and one with another woman (my half-brother, who was three months older than I). When my mother was not there, I would see my father and my half-brother’s mother kiss and cuddle. When my half-brother’s mom wasn’t there, I would see my mother and my father kiss and cuddle. Although I was very young, these images still remain with me.

My mother and the mother of my half-brother were best friends. When they were in their late teenage years, they came from Guatemala together to the United States and developed a bond on their journey. My half-brother and I got along very well, but having the same father yet different moms in the household was confusing and troubling. It was confusing and troubling for me because I was never the center of my father’s attention, especially when he would mistreat my mom and when he would show affection to my half-brother’s mom....

When I was six years old, my father broke off ties with all of us and started a new family with a third woman. It was at this point that my half-brother’s mother and my mother went their separate ways. From that point onward, my mother raised me by herself.

Although this complicated romantic situation was not technically a “throuple,” because the adults each had their own beds and did not engage in three-person sexual acts, it gives a glimpse of what children would experience in such a household....

As a teenager, I found myself following the relationship patterns my father had modeled, even though he had not been part of my life for over ten years. I would always have two or more girlfriends at the same time.

What exactly explains this behavior? I am not sure, but I have a hunch that my childhood experiences played a major role....

James Lopez is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Political Science at Indiana University and a Masters Degree in Philosophy at Biola University. He is the president of Biola Anscombe Society and a research coordinator at the International Children’s Rights Institute.

Here's the whole article (May 11, 2015). What the author seems to have had is a chaotic home with a runaround, mostly missing father who "would mistreat" his mother, and for ideological purposes he's trying to generalize that experience to where it doesn't apply.


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