Monday, October 15, 2007

Family Law Academic Acknowledges Significant Difference Between Religious Polygamy and Polyamory as Regards Public Policy

Canadian Law Professor Lorraine E. Weinrib's column, Second Opinion, published today online at includes the following statement, the first of its kind I've seen that recognizes the legitimacy of the interests of polyamorists in public discourse and debate over marriage rights as they apply to same-sex marriage, religious polygamy, and the slippery slope to polyamory as defined by Stanley Kurtz.

In forging public policy, it is important to distinguish between polygamous marriage within authoritarian religious communities and polyamorous relationships. The latter do not necessarily pose harm. They presumably involve mature, informed, and consenting adults, who have access to reproductive health information and health-care services, full exit rights, and access to enforcement of the relevant legal entitlements and protection.

It is heartening to now see that family law academics are publicly and knowledgeably identifying the significant differences in the context of public policy between the non-egalitarian ways of religious polygamy and the egalitarian ways of polyamory. These differences matter significantly in human rights terms.

1 comment:

Shara said...

Hear hear. I read the full article and I agree whole-heartedly. The journalist is both determined to stand up for the individual liberties of the women and children who are taken advantage of in extreme patriarchal societies yet is concerned for existing *functional* families of the polygamous nature ... in addition to recognizing the difference between religious-based polygamy and polyamory (although the journalist uses the broader term "polygamy" rather than the more accurate term "polyandry" throughout the article).