Friday, June 26, 2009

Loving More Sanford Press Release

Loving More Non-Profit
June 25, 2009

LOVING MORE® non-profit is all too familiar with Governor Mark Sanford’s challenging situation. We are an organization that helps and supports people in finding ethical, mutually agreed-upon ways for loving more than one person in honest multi-partnered relationships. We help partners consciously negotiate their relationship styles and agreements, whether monogamy or polyamory, with ethics and integrity.

Loving More Executive Director Robyn Trask issued the following statement.

"My heart goes out to Mr. Sanford, his wife and kids, and to his lover in Argentina. In my job I am contacted by people from all walks of life going through similar challenges of loving more than one. It is painful and heart-wrenching for all involved. We live in a culture that is in denial of the fact that many people are capable of, and do find themselves, loving more than one person, and we laden them with guilt for loving. People are calling Gov. Sanford's case a "sex scandal," but if you listen to Mr. Sanford and read his words, it is obvious this not about sex but about love and connection; it would be better described as a love scandal. Is he a hypocrite? Yes, but he is also human. The real scandal is denying the impossibility for some of monogamy. What would happen if in our culture, ethical, agreed-upon polyamory were as acceptable as monogamy??

Politics aside, this is a man in crisis because we as a society have decided there is only one right way to have a loving relationship. We ignore the statistics and heart ache that say otherwise and even the Bible. Many of our greatest leaders have followed this trend in the past from John F Kennedy to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Isn’t it good for people, especially our leaders, to be loving people and have a big heart? Isn’t this why many go into politics, and isn’t it natural that many of these people can truly love more than one person?”

One of our members, Michael Rios, said it well in a comment he made about the story in the Washington Post.

“I'm no fan of Sanford, nor the hypocrites of either party, but the real story here is that monogamy is *not* the right choice for a lot of people. Even with such strong convictions and so much to lose, these "family values" types keep stepping out of line. They aren't *that* weak-- a weak person couldn't have gotten to where they are.

It would be a lot better for the children, and for the spouses, if non-monogamous types (which by any measure seem to be a majority), whether politicians or not, could acknowledge who and what they really are. Sanford fell in love with one woman while married to another. In Biblical times, this would not be a problem -- polygamy was practiced by many of the foremost Biblical figures.

A sexist institution of that sort would not be acceptable to most folks today, of course. But there are millions of Americans of both genders who have found a way to be honest and responsible while loving more than one romantic partner. The practice of this is called "polyamory". When many people first encounter this idea, they realize that their style of loving is not immoral, disturbed, or inferior. Many of these people have been living this way for decades, having long-term stable relationships, raising children, and being responsible members of society. Of course, most of them have to keep this hidden, for fear of being attacked or having their children taken away.

I keep waiting for some politician to have the guts to say (as a number of European politicians have done), “Yes, I love both of them, and intend to keep both of them in my life.” ”

Loving More is aware of one politician who did just that, Colorado Governor Roy Romer in 1998. When questioned about his relationship with former aide B. J. Thornberry, he admitted to a 16 year relationship. Denying that it was an affair, Governor Romer explained that he had a close and complex relationship with Thornberry, and he further clarified that his family and wife were aware of the relationship all along and that it would continue. Romer defined to the press that marital fidelity was about “openness” and “trust”. Although there was some shock at his statements, it is interesting to note that when he acknowledged the relationship openly the press quickly lost interest.

With these latest developments involving a high level politician who has a long standing rhetoric of “traditional family values”, Loving More is even further committed to educating people from all walks of life about open, honest loving alternatives to monogamy. There is no one-size-fits-all model of relationship.

Our Director Robyn Trask asks, ““When will we all wake up to these realities, or are we as a nation too addicted to scandal and drama to allow people to be real and human, and to talk about the need for wider loving arrangements that can -- if there is understanding and free agreement all around -- work?”

About Loving More®

Loving More Non-Profit Corporation
PO Box 1658
Loveland, CO 80539

Board of Directors/Staff
Robyn Trask, Managing Director and Editor
Jesus V Garcia, IT Director/Board Member
Anita Wagner, Board of Directors Member


Nikki said...

Um, no. Usually I'm in total agreement, but the problem is not that monogamy isn't for everyone- the problem is he is a cheater and a liar and this is NOT a poly relationship born of honest communication. Yes, people could find beauty in extending their idea of love and relationship. This is not what happened with Sanford.

Adam said...

I quite liked this press release - except for the double questionmark. Kind of amateurish, to be honest.

But the opinion that Sanford might not have been a cheater and a hypocrite in a culture that understands and respects that you can love more than one person - bravo, and exactly the point.

Anita Wagner said...

Thanks for your comments, Nikki and Adam. Adam, Loving More is mostly volunteer run and is perpetually underfunded, as are most non-profits who advocate for alternative forms of sexual and relationship expression. We look forward to the day that it has the funding for professionals on staff to handle such things. In the meantime they are giving it their best efforts.

marie nadine said...

One Love!
Thank you so much for your website and your activism for sexual freedom and for poly living in general. I love everything you've written. I like the article posting by Loving More. I plan to donate to them as soon as I have the resources to do so.
The issue is that "cheating" per se is a direct result of monogamy and the non poly values that the powers that be hold true. I know in my heart that fewer people would feel the need to hide or keep secret relationships with other partners if polyamory was an accepted way of life in our society.
I hope to become a big activist in the poly community someday. I happen to be in love with a couple and I'm seeking to have a closed vee relationship with them. I know in my heart that this relationship is the model that will guarantee me the love and happinness that I have dreamed of all of my life.

Anita Wagner said...

Marie, thanks for your kind words and for your willingness to support Loving More, they need all our help. Thanks also for your general interest in polyamory activism. Let me know when you are ready to become more involved and I'll be happy to fill you in on what's going on these days in that area. In the meantime, best of luck with your poly relationship.