Monday, May 7, 2007

Should polyamorists seek marriage rights?

When the subject of discussion is polyamory activism, some seem to indicate that a desire for marriage equality for polys is a natural primary goal of poly activism, even a no-brainer. I remain opposed to this course of action because the corporate and big government powers that be are unlikely to let it happen. I am speaking in this instance about the well-heeled, congress-in-its-pocket health insurance industry. Unless a very, very rich polyamory activism benefactor comes along, in no way does the polyamory community have the resources to fight the kind of fight we'd have to fight to get the huge morass of a system of marriage laws, privileges and benefits retooled to fit marriages of more than two.

Of course, this is not so as regards same-sex marriage. No rewebbing need take place, merely a lifting of the one man-one woman requirement. There is much less likelihood of a negative financial impact under those circumstances than what would surely be anticipated by health insurance companies and the IRS as regards three or more equal partners or "spice".

I support a more feasible method via improving the availability and affordability of individual health insurance, together with getting state and federal government out of the marriage business. Domestic partnerships of many kinds would be recognized, and the same benefits granted now to a more narrow definition of families would become available to all intentional families.

A plan along these lines has already been put forth by a group of activists, writers and academics in 2006, a group called Beyond Same-Sex Marriage

With federal and state government out of the marriage business, marriage would become a private matter in terms of getting the blessing of religious institutions and so forth. No one's existing marriage would be harmed, and no one's right to engage in marriage would be prevented.

Polyfolk might have to go to more trouble to designate who gets what financial, parental and inheritance rights, but I'd be willing to spend some money with a good lawyer if that's all it took to have good, effective legal protection, access to fair benefits and the ability to choose who and how many partners I want, while taking power to grant relationship legitimacy out of the hands of government.

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