Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A thread so good it's now a post..

This thread brought up such a good point that I wanted to repost it.

Thomas Drake Steffens said...

I am sure you will find at least half of the poly/open community divided on whether they are for or against this documentary. Recognition has it's pros and cons - I believe that the exposure will bring to light the fact of infinite love(s) within the universe, but the more people who recognize these relationships the more opponents will rally against. I forsee a long tug-o'-war in the days ahead for those who wish to establish legal rights to their poly lifestyle within the state/country. Would the exposure that this doc reveals propel poly units into a battle that some don't wish to fight? It's hard to stay on the fence when one's "team" is engaged, however some poly units may not want the world to know - keeping it underground isn't elitist, sometimes it's for safety. In a legal sense, many people could lose jobs, homes, benefits, loves, etc. before their "right" to be openly poly/open is acceptable within the public domain. Is the greater good in striving for equality within our means of comprehension? Or are we blinded by our righteousness to what we "deserve" vs. what is legally feasible? The ambiguity of our relationships can be confusing to us alone, what would a polu unit's marriage license look like??? :)

PolyAnna said...

To Thomas:

Yes, I have realized that the poly community is divided about this documentary. And unfortunately, about a lot of things.

The risks that we will take as a community when it comes to public exposure are very very real to me. A lot of my poly friends have children or high profile jobs, or both. I myself have a child to protect. And it is for those very reasons that I want to bring poly into the legal and social spotlight. I want to live in a world where we don't have to leave all but one of our lovers at home when we go to the company Christmas party. I want to live in a world where ALL of our children's parents are welcome at his parent teacher meetings. I want to live in a world where, in the event of a death, poly pods don't have to worry that the children or the family bussines will go to some random blood relative instead of the non-legally sanctioned family that has loved and cared for them since inception.

These are the reasons that we hide, and these are also the reasons that we need to stop hiding. As long as we sit passively in the shadows and keep quiet, these issues will continue to keep us quiet. We will quietly lose our children, our jobs, our economic stability. Our lovers will be put in hospitals and we will be denied rights to see them in their last moments.

The issues that we face as the poly community aren't dissimilar from the issues that have been faced by same sex couples for years and years. And history shows us that, little by little, progress is made. By Jan 1st, 2010, same sex marriages will be officially legal in six states in the US, as well as in Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. We have come a long way since the time when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Yes, we've got a long way to go, but the fact is that we're on our way.

The same can eventually be true for the poly community, but only if we are willing to take the steps to get us there. And yes, it's going to be hard and scary and dangerous at times. That's what it takes. But I think there is a very real possibility that we can make major legal strides even in my lifetime.

I hope very much that "the greater good in striving for equality (is) within our means of comprehension." What is legally feasible is up to us. And as far as the poly marriage certificate, well, wouldn't that be a beautiful thing? :)


  1. Just thought about the marriage certificate and what it might look like.
    Do we ever consider that it's a legacy item from a cultural paradigm thats perhaps waining? What rights do we really want? The "sanctity of marriage" often prevents sensible discussion of it as an institution. Perhaps it would be better to treat this as a human rights issue?
    That approach is more inclusive, even of those who already have the protections of marriage, and could help to steer the debate in a more constructive direction.

  2. I'm with Poly here. Harvey Milk's greatest contribution to the civil rights movement was the concept of being out, in a political sense. When people are closeted, its easy for the mainstream to let their imaginations fly with what those 'degenerates' and 'perverts' might be up. It's much harder when a community recognizes that part of its back bone might not have the same concept long term relationships than they do. And in turn, discover that these people might also share some of the same core values, like family and community.

  3. To Thom:

    This is absolutely a human rights issue. To occasionally discuss it in terms of marriage equality doesn't conflict with the idea of the greater human rights issue. It's just an easily graspable way of thinking about it.

    Whether or not the institution of marriage as it exists right now is a waning institution, it's still what's legally in place at this moment. And being granted the legal right to marry is actually about much more than marriage itself. Once that right is granted, it will begin to change society's idea about that group. It's an important step to erasing prejudice.

    Think about interracial relationships. At one point in pretty recent history there was a lot of prejudice surrounding interracial relationships in the US. It was illegal to marry outside one's own race. In fact, it wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court passed legislation deeming anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. But now American culture doesn't even bat an eye at interracial marriage.

    That's what equal marriage rights are about. It's about affecting social change through a very specific legal means. And, as history shows us, it works.


make it up as you go along: