I’m going to make an exception to my usual rules and talk politics for a bit.
Chief Justice Roberts, in his dissent from the ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide, laid out why, in his opinion, once gay marriage is legal there is no reason not to make poly marriage legal. He even specifically mentioned polyamory several times in his dissent.
A lot of news outlets and poly folk have picked up on this and are asking the same question
Is It Time for Poly Marriage?
Several things have changed since the last time I attempted to answer this question, but overall my answer hasn’t changed.
Poly folk aren’t ready for a battle about marriage. The mainstream LGBT community has an internal structure, access to legal resources, coordination, and public support that the poly community can only dream of. So, this isn’t the right time to start this battle.
We would do far better to throw our resources and support behind the LGBT community’s push for non-discrimination, and in the process both strengthen our alliances and give us the time and opportunity to build the structure, coordination, and public support that will be needed when we are ready to start fighting for the rights we deserve.
Tactical and strategic thinking sucks sometimes. It’s easy to look at the sudden talk about poly marriage in the media and think about how much you want to marry your spice and say “LGBT got it, it’s our turn now!”
Real life doesn’t work that way. Real life means taking the time to have our shit in order before charging into the breach.
Real life also means realizing that “poly marriage” the way the talking heads are using the term isn’t what we need anyway. Group marriage will not be an answer for the poly community. Our relationship structures are too varied for that. What we need, and honestly what a shit-ton of folks outside the poly community need, is a path to have all families legally recognized, no matter what their structure.