Quick Takes – Marriage à Trois: Polyamory As A Constitutional Right; Polyamory Acceptance; Polyamory Normalization

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: Take that, duo-normative diarchy!

     First, a little mood music:

     Carrying on…

     Is there any reasoning used against polyamerous marriage that wasn’t used against same-sex marriage that was dismissed as “irrational animus”?

     Not really.

“The majority in Obergefell did not find the fact that the West, for at least two millennia, held a stable conception of marriage — a union between one man and one woman, open to procreation and the rearing of children — compelling grounds to reject the claims of the plaintiffs. Obergefell clearly conceives of marriage as a ‘right’ — civil, legal, and moral — to be extended to consenting claimants, with only passing regard for the existing strictures of the institution. Anthony Kennedy’s opinion uses a nebulous, inchoate definition of marriage predicated on poetic notions of ‘dignity’ and ‘love’ rather than the traditional, unbroken consensus of Western civilization. Why would the Court find the traditional restriction of marriage to a union between two persons a compelling reason to withhold the right to marry from three (or more) claimants?

“If ‘love,’ ‘dignity,’ and the pursuant tax advantages are the constitutive parts of marriage, on what grounds would Rauch or the courts withhold those ‘rights’ from polygamous unions?”

     One of the main arguments against polyamerous marriages is that it wouldn’t jive with current marriage laws and precedent that that assumes only two people participate.   But if the fact that much of marriage and family law has been adjusted to fit the fact that said two people aren’t even of the same sex, such as questions of parentage, then that argument starts to fall flat. And if the change in the laws can adapt and follow, then what moral objection can there be?

“Questions of tax benefits or burdens, inheritance and all of the other baggage that goes along with it can be handled contractually whether you are married or not. When pressed for a solution to the previous conundrum, I always suggested that the word ‘marriage’ be stripped from the tax codes entirely and from almost every other law as well. (I say ‘almost’ because the government should still maintain the ability to protect the underage, the mentally impaired and others who can’t give meaningful consent from the possibility of marriage being used as a fig leaf to cover abuse.) But since our current government would never agree to all that, approving gay marriage was probably the only other choice, though far inferior to simply getting the government out of the business of marriage.

“But if that’s my position (and it’s one I’ve been satisfied with for quite some time now), how can I justify the portion of that speech where I specify ‘two people to engage in a private ceremony?’ As I said, the concept of a polyamorous relationship remains completely foreign and mystifying to me. I’ve barely been able to struggle along seeing to the needs and/or demands of one woman these past 25 years. The idea of doing that for two would leave me in a panic-induced coma.

“But that’s just me. Who am I to say that three people couldn’t engage in such a private ceremony? More to the point, who is the government to say? I would fall back on the fundamental basis for how our governments should determine when a law is valid to pass. If we are to restrict the actions of free individual citizens, we should be able to answer one question. Is the action to be prohibited causing harm to or restricting the rights of other citizens? If the answer is yes it’s fair game for being restricted under law. If the answer is no, well… you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

     That normalization is exactly what the media is pushing, as is the struggle against the oppressive nature of the duo-normative diarchy.

“Policymakers in the United States are just beginning to expand their definitions of what makes a family, as the city of Somerville, Mass., passed an ordinance in June giving polyamorous groups rights that are typically only given to two-parent couples, like the ability to share health insurance. Somerville’s City Council president said that he felt the ordinance was urgent because of the pandemic, as it would allow more residents health care coverage.

“But this ordinance is an outlier. Though nonmonogamy seems to be on the rise — or at least society is more open about it than ever before — families consisting of three or more parents can face challenges that are in some ways different from, and similar to, those faced by divorced parents, single parents and L.G.B.T.Q. parents.”


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