A few weeks ago I got berated for writing this in a letter to the smh:
But what is that ”something else”? How is it to be defined? Why should, as one example, polygamists be excluded from this new arrangement, or even polyamorists? Not to mention other unions which are now at the fringes of our societal understanding, just as homosexual relationships were in previous generations?
By all means argue for gay marriage; it’s the great beauty of our democracy that we can have these discussions. But let’s clearly define exactly what we’re arguing for and who else we’re going to exclude – in years to come perhaps they’ll be accusing Ms Wong herself of prejudice and bigotry, just as she accuses those who disagree with her.
Well, surprise surprise…
“The polyamory community has always been supportive of the values of equality and acceptance,” Melksham told Inquirer this week.
“Participating in the Mardi Gras was a natural way for us to affirm these values.”
Boosted by this success, Melksham and her polyamorous friends are planning an even bigger show for next year’s festival.
The polyamorous community has a further cause for celebration.
They believe last weekend’s vote by the ALP national conference to change the party platform to legalise same-sex marriage is a base on which they can build.
The agenda now is to seek recognition and the removal of prejudice against multiple-partner relationships, perhaps legislation to grant them civil unions and even legalised polyamorous marriage.
“My personal view is that any change that moves us towards a more loving, open and accepting society can only be a positive,” Melksham says.
I think this is my favourite part of the article…
For those who fought the battle last week at the ALP national conference in support of the change of the party platform, the emergence of “poly pride” is a dangerous development.
Inquirer this week contacted some of the most vocal supporters within the ALP caucus for legalising gay marriage: Finance Minister Penny Wong, Schools Minister Peter Garrett, Social Inclusion Minister Tanya Plibersek, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, left convener Doug Cameron and Stephen Jones, who plans to introduce a same-sex marriage bill.
Inquirer asked them: “Do you, given your deep commitment to the topic, believe that at the next ALP national conference the platform should be further amended to legalise marriage among polyfidelist triads?”
Not one would speak to Inquirer on the topic, and most did not reply.
Well, of course not – because there is no logical response.
After some pressure, Attorney-General Robert McClelland responded, going out of his way to make clear that while gay marriage might be on the agenda, legalised menages-a-trois were not. “Irrespective of whether the definition of marriage is extended to include same-sex couples, there has been and is no suggestion that the definition should extend to polygamous relationships,” a spokesman said.
Even the whisper of recognising polyamorous unions presents two threats for supporters of gay marriage: one from the Right, the other from the Left.
Niko Antalffy, a sociologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University who has studied polyamory and has been “actively polyamorous for about seven years”, says: “Of course they are scared.
“Having multiple partners sounds radical and they know that it won’t fly with the mainstream community,” Antalffy says.
“If you want to promote gay marriage you want to distance yourself with the slippery slope argument as much as possible, so no one will think that marrying your goat is next.”
But again, the question is simple: what’s the new definition of marriage and why are you excluding others from it?