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01/06/2009

LGBT - P?

by Jeremy Hooper

We've seen many anti-gays make the "gay marriage = polygamous marriage" argument. But when it comes from a professed supporter of same-sex marriage equality, it's a little harder to swallow. This from Lee Stranahan, writing for The Huffington Post:

Picture 3-182If Melissa Etheridge has the right to marry Tammy Lynn Michaels - and I think she does - then Melissa and Tammy also have the same right to make it official with David Crosby, it they choose to do so. In fact, if they wanted to marry Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Linsday Lohan, Samantha Ronson, Mark Ronson AND Ani Difranco...it's their choice and their right and it'd make quite a tour, too.

There's no argument you can make against a poly marriage that wouldn't work just as well as an argument against gay marriage.

Aside from reasons of consistency, advocates of gay marriage should also be vocally in favor of polygamy since it allows bisexuals to be actively practicing married bisexuals. Bisexuals are the B in GLBT but they really get short shrift in the marriage discussion.

I'm in favor of real marriage equality. Love the one you're with. Love the two or more you're with, if you can work that out. Marry them if you're into that kind of thing. But until the gay marriage movement embraces polygamy...well, they are just acting like bigots and haters, aren't they?

Why Are Gay Marriage Advocates Not Defending Polyamory? [HuffPo]

Alright, but here's the thing:

(a) Bisexuals are not innately polyamorous. We thought this went without saying, but apparently not. Bisexuality just means an attraction to both genders, not a CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIP with both sexes!

(b) In terms of the arguments one can make to support same-sex unions but not poly marriage? Well, whether you agree with the custom or not, the fact is that marriage, in modern society has largely been considered a commitment between two people. By opening the civil marriage system up to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, you are not changing any of the fundamentals. All you are doing is making the current system jibe with the full landscape of accepted sexual orientations. To open the system up to polygamous unions is to change the core structure as we have come to know it. You may personally think that sort of change is fine and even needed. But it is an undeniably different alteration.

(***Note: Originally the above section said that marriage has ALWAYS been considered a commitment between two people, which was a mistype. Obviously there have been all kinds of marriages throughout history -- but largely, civil marriage in modern times has meant two people. That's what we meant to convey.)

(c) The "bigots and haters" line is a straw man, be it applied to those against same-sex or polygamous unions. Not all gay people consider their marriage opposition to be bigots and haters. There is a big difference between adopting biased stances and being an all-out bigot. Many gay activists, including the writer of this site, are quite capable of distinguishing between the two.

(d) Some LGBT people do support polyamorous unions, and would surely join that side if a marriage campaign was organized. But just like same-sex unions, that is a matter that will have to be decided on its own merits. Those merits have no more to do with homosexuality or bisexuality than they do heterosexuality!

So please, Mr. Stranahan, don't seek to put a division between supporters of same-sex marriage equality and those who are open to other forms of recognition. There is room in the public sphere for several different conversations about the way we recognize marriage in this country. But when it comes to poly unions and Polly/Polly unions, we are, in fact, talking about two different conversations.

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Your thoughts

My response to your comment: http://voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2009/01/11/love-the-two-or-more-youre-with/#comment-468

Posted by: Marcus French | Jan 13, 2009 9:17:40 PM

I've said my one and only piece on your site, Marcus. Any further discussion, if needed, can happen here.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2009 10:37:57 PM

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