Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where will homosexual marriage lead us? Polyamory. Polygamy.

An argument against homosexual marriage is it leads to, among other things, polygamy and polyamorous relationships. The usual retort is one is alarmist. A fear monger and so forth. Yet logically they're linked if marriage is defined by what the individual desires in terms of a sexual relationship and having the state sanction it.

Here's a story out of Boston, Mass. the first state to recognize homosexual marriage, albeit via the courts, which shows that argument is rooted in fact. It's entitled, "Loves new frontier" and discusses polyamorous relationships and organized efforts to promote recognition of polyamorous relationships.

Jay Sekora isn’t actively looking for an additional relationship, but he admits to occasionally checking a dating site to see who’s out there. Sekora’s girlfriend, Mare, who does not want her last name used here for professional reasons, said she is not pursuing anyone, either, but is “open and welcoming to what might come along.” In the three-plus years they have been together, a few other people have come along, like the woman whom Sekora, a 43-year-old systems administrator from Quincy, met online and dated briefly until she moved away. There was also a male-male couple that Mare and Sekora, who identifies as bisexual, dated for several months as a couple. Other than that, it has been the two of them. Well, sort of.

Through the lens of monogamy, this love connection may appear distorted, but that’s not how Sekora and Mare, who is 45, describe their lifestyle. Adherents call it responsible non-monogamy or polyamory, and the nontraditional practice is creeping out of the closet, making gay marriage feel somewhat last decade here in Massachusetts. What literally translates to “loving many,” polyamory (or poly, for short), a term coined around 1990, refers to consensual, romantic love with more than one person. Framing it in broad terms, Sekora, one of the three founders and acting administrator of the 500-person-strong group Poly Boston, says: “There’s monogamy where two people are exclusive. There’s cheating in which people are lying about being exclusive. And poly is everything else.”

Everything else with guidelines, that is, although those vary according to the agreed-upon needs and desires of the people in the relationships. After all, this isn’t swinging, in which a couple seeks out recreational sex. This isn’t even the free love of the ’60s and ’70s, characterized by psychedelic love-ins. And despite the shared “poly” prefix, this certainly isn’t the patriarchal, man-with-many-wives polygamy that has earned increased public attention with the HBO show Big Love. Polyamory has a decidedly feminist, free-spirited flavor, and these are real relationships with the full array of benefits and complexities -- plus a few more -- as the members of Poly Boston’s hypercommunicative, often erudite, and well-entwined community will explain.

Sounds like anything goes. And that's about right.

“With affairs, you get sex. With polyamory, you get breakfast,” says Cambridge sex therapist Gina Ogden, citing a well-known poly saying. Ogden is the author of The Return of Desire, in which she dedicates a chapter to affairs and polyamory. “Polyamory isn’t a lifestyle for everybody, any more than monogamy is for everybody,” she says. “Keeping one relationship vital is a lot of work, and if you start adding more relationships, it becomes more work.” Though common descriptors used for monogamy don’t easily apply to polyamory, there is a recognizable spectrum of how open these partnerships may be. On the closed end, you might have a couple in a primary relationship who will then have one or more secondary relationships that are structured to accommodate the primary one. There’s also polyfidelity, in which three or more people are exclusive with one another. On the open end, there might be chains of people where, for example, Sue is dating Bill and Bill is dating Karen and Karen is dating Jack, who is also dating Sue.

“I’m not sure there are as many ways to be poly as there are people who are poly, but it’s close,” says Thomas Amoroso, an emergency room doctor from Somerville and member of Poly Boston. Amoroso, 48, who identifies as straight, has been in a committed relationship for five years with a woman and man who live together within walking distance of his Somerville apartment. Amoroso is only sexual with the woman, who is sexual with each of the men separately, but they all consider the others life partners. “No one has said the words ‘Till death do us part,’ but I think that’s the intent,” Amoroso says. Divorced in 1999 after 15 years of marriage, Amoroso felt unable to express his affectionate nature in the confines of a monogamous relationship. When a woman he had just begun seeing revealed she was polyamorous, the concept, new to Amoroso, resonated. Amoroso and the woman stayed together for five years, while each sustained additional relationships, including -- for her -- one with Sekora that drew Sekora and Amoroso together in a close friendship that they still maintain. For Amoroso, being poly is less about sex than the authentic expression of caring for more than one person. “People tend to harp on the sexual component,” he says, “but the relationship component is just as important.

Truly anythings goes in our current postmodern, morally relativist milieu. The only problem is the consequences can't be avoided. Both in the damage done to children who are forced to be raised in these highly unstable, confusing arrangements. But also to individuals who never experience the wonder and stability of a faithful, loving man and woman relationship and experience the emotional scars and additional risk of exposure to STDs. Though most don't see it or want to think about it, the end result is social chaos. Homosexual marriage is simply the first step on the road to social anarchy. Again, history is repeating itself. And before most realize it, it's too late.


DW said...

How does anyone else's gay or poly relationship affect your relationship?

Elaine said...

You forgot to mention the leading to beastiality as well.

Alarmist? I wouldn't use that phase to describe the cult like group the mfc is, but I would use fear tactic.

Poly groups have been around far longer than the MFC, and have used RELIGION to back it up. For that matter, the same God as your God.

The problem is that you use a very contradictory practice (and religion or that matter) to make your arguments.

With the likes of Brit Humes, I shouldn't get very worried that people will take you seriously, I really should just lean back and watch people finally wake up to the fact, that extremist groups are only out for one thing, which is power.