Polyamory has gone big time. There are magazines and journals devoted to it, societies founded to further it, conferences held around the world to discuss it, and countless organisations in existence to promote and defend it. In case you are stuck at this point, let me save you a trip to the dictionary. The word simply means “many loves” and it involves such concepts as group love and group marriage.
When I last googled the term ‘polyamory’ there were around 1.4 million hits. It is worth looking up some of the many sites devoted to polyamory. Consider just a few of the groups pushing this, such as the Alternatives to Marriage Project; The Polyamory Society; and The World Polyamory Association.
This last-named group offers this ‘Vision Statement’ about its conferences: “Join the CHOICE movement! Investigate the possibilities of a polyamorous (more than one love) lifestyle. Ask us how you can make more love in your life, relate from your highest self with your lovers and housemates, uplevel jealousy into compersion (joy at your lovers’ joy), and give them each the love, intimacy, attention, companionship, touch and sexual-loving they need. Create a loving support and create true, inner peace with your extended family, your tribe.”
There are also various niche groups as well, such as the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness; the Polyamorist Political Action Committee; and the PolyChildren Index.
And consider some of the book titles available on the subject. There are such juicy titles as, The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities; Lesbian Polyfidelity: A Pleasure Guide for the Woman Whose Heart Is Open to Multiple, Concurrent Sexualoves; Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits; Loving More: The Polyfidelity Primer; and Polyamory: More Loves, More Loving.
And there seem to be endless conferences, meetings and support groups out there devoted to this growing movement. There are even entire TV series devoted to this, such as the US-made Big Love, which our own SBS in Australia is happy to run prime time on Saturday nights.
Sadly, this is not merely the stuff of hormonally-charged fruitcakes. There are plenty of “serious” academic, educational, political and legal groups pushing this stuff as well.
All of this may have been unthinkable just a few short decades ago, but the times they are a changin’. But the interesting thing about all this is how it is simply the logical extension of both the sexual revolution, and the attempt to redefine marriage and family out of existence.
Polyamory is simply the next step along the slippery slope that began around about the 1960s. When the institutions of marriage and family were attacked by the sexual libertines and social engineers back then, they knew that the best way to destroy them was to radically redefine them. The idea was that any and all sexual relationships were as good as another.
And the radicals of the 60s soon became our legislators, politicians, judges, academics, journalists and educators. Laws were changed all over the Western world. Easy divorce was implemented, cohabitation and de facto relationships were given legal recognition and benefits, and alternative lifestyles were paraded and championed.
Of course pro-family voices back then warned that this would simply be one big slippery slope. And that is just what we are now seeing. Twenty years ago when cohabitation was granted the legal and social benefits of heterosexual marriage, we warned that homosexual marriage would be the next logical step. We of course were mocked and scorned. Critics said that we were mixing apples and oranges, and that no one was calling for same-sex marriage anyway.
Of course now we are up to our ears in same-sex marriage. And pro-family voices are now warning that polyamory is the next logical direction once the homosexual lobby has gotten its demands. And the same criticisms are being levelled. “They are two different things” they argue, and no one is calling for polyamory anyway.
Well, both criticisms are so much hot air. As I just pointed out, polyamory is all the rage, and is getting more impetus, public support, and true believers all the time. And the similarities are certainly there. Yet the critics continue to keep their head in the sand.
Consider but one example of this. Homosexual activist Rodney Croome recently had an opinion piece in which he laughed off any move toward polyamory, based on the promotion of same-sex marriage. He sneered at those warning about the slippery slope, and sought to argue that the two types of relationships had nothing in common.
Yet he comes nowhere near to making his case. He starts off with a complete red herring. He says those concerned about polyamory are simply being hypocritical: “Often those who oppose same-sex marriage justify themselves by referring to ‘biblical values’, conveniently ignoring the fact that the Bible is full of polygamous relationships.”
There are several obvious problems with this. A person need not be religious to oppose homosexual relationships. And I am not aware of any credible religious person who condones polygamy. The Bible in fact does not, and warns against it. Simply because the Bible describes a behaviour does not mean it approves of it.
He then speaks of the “old myth about homosexual promiscuity”. Old myth? Really? All the research shows that this is no myth. Even homosexual researchers acknowledge this. And when fellow homosexual activists make such claims, are they simply liars, or what? Consider just one remark by Dennis Altman: Monogamy “is not a realistic choice for many of us . . . we don’t find one partner sufficiently fulfilling. People who argue that there would be no problem if all gay men would just be monogamous are ignoring both medical and emotional realities”.
He then says nations which have legalised same-sex marriages have not legalised polygamy. The simple response is: not yet. Twenty years ago the same objections were being made: countries that have recognised and legalised cohabitation have not legalised same-sex marriages. It only took a few decades to show the hollowness of that objection.
The rest of his piece is an attempt to differentiate same-sex marriage from polygamy. But he nowhere does this. He says that same-sex marriage is all about love, commitment, consent, choice, justice and equality. I guess he is not reading the polyamory literature. That is exactly what they are saying as well.
Both groups base their attack on marriage on exactly the same premises. Both argue that loving, consensual, committed relationships are the really important thing, nothing else. Homosexuals say gender has nothing to do with real love and marriage. Polyamorists say number has nothing to do with real love and marriage.
Their arguments are identical. The case for one leads to the case for the other. Once the institution of marriage is redefined out of existence, then anything goes. Once we dump the ‘one man, one woman, commitment for life’ principle of heterosexual marriage, then all sorts of relationships are fair game.
And the polyamorists certainly know this. They regularly appeal to same-sex relationships and marriage to buttress their arguments and make their case.
So Croome can waffle all he likes about these differences, but they are only differences in his mind. Both types of relationships are part of the slippery slope that is now gaining momentum and pace. The answer to all these weird and wild sexual combinations and permutations is to return to the age-old understanding of what real marriage is all about. Until then, the slope will only get more slippery.