Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Response Re: Polyamory Rights, Proposition 8, and the ACLU

This is my response to the letter from Anthony Romero (see this post), Executive Director of the ACLU, regarding support for California Proposition 8 on election day, November 4, 2008:

Hi Anthony -

You wrote of your mother, "She knew that treating gay and lesbian people like second class citizens -- people who may be worthy of "tolerance, " as Sarah Palin asserts, but not of equality -- was and still is the last socially-acceptable prejudice." I hear your pain in that sentence. Correction - I hear OUR pain, and I hear a lack of awareness in that statement. Socially-acceptable prejudice is thriving against the polyamory community, as well as against other sexual minority groups,

In her keynote address at the October 4, 2008 polyamory pride rally in Central Park, queer and sex-positive activist Tristan Taormino said the following:

"Some gays and lesbians have responded to the charge of the “slippery slope” by calling it ridiculous, but others have defended gay marriage by denouncing polyamory. What about those of us who are queer and poly? Queers and polyfolk have a lot in common, and we need to recognize the ways we can help each other. Queer people must stand up and say we believe in the rights of everyone to love, commit to, and marry whomever they want. We must not throw polyamory under the bus in favor of advancing queer marriage rights."

Considering that, as Tristan points out, a sizeable segment of GLBTs also live a poly life, I am reminded of the quote from the venerable cartoon Pogo, "We have met the enemy... and he is us"

The wider polyamory community is well aware that those who've worked so hard for GLBT rights and marriage equality are paving the way for acceptance and equality for polyamorists and other sexual minorities, and we are grateful, even though some of the marriage equality leaders have denied our existence and that our issues exist and are equally legitimate. I get that doing otherwise is believed to place marriage equality in jeopardy thanks to Stanley Kurtz's slippery slope messaging, but it hurts nevertheless to see those who should surely recognize the injustice in that strategy adopt it nevertheless.

We polyamorists certainly have work to do to eradicate anti-poly bias, and we are doing it. Today polyamory is being mainstreamed, largely through strong interest from print, broadcast and electronic media. As polyamory awareness is increased, more and more people oppose what we do. More and more poly people experience discrimination on the job, in family courts where child custody is at stake, and by their friends, family and religious institution. Our heartbreaking experience of discrimination is the same as yours and so many other GLBTs. I hope that as time passes and dyadic marriage equality is made a reality, those who have fought for it will respond to the support we polyfolk have given at crucial times like the upcoming vote on Proposition 8 by proclaiming their support for our rights and our equality.

Thanks for considering!

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