Remember the outraged protests from “gay marriage” campaigners that it was a world away from polyamory and no-one was seriously advocating that…..?

Well that must be why the BBC is running a story called “How does a polyamorous relationship between four people work?

Charlie is talking excitedly about a first date she went on the night before.

Next to her on the sofa is her husband of six years, Tom. And on the other side of him is Sarah, who’s been in a relationship with Tom for the last five years. Sarah’s fiance, Chris, is in the kitchen making a cup of tea.

The two women are also in a full-blown relationship, while the two men are just good friends. Together, they make a polyamorous family and share a house in Sheffield.

“We’re planning to grow old together,” says Charlie.

If any of the four want to get involved with someone else, they have to run it by the others – all of whom have a veto.

“We can’t use a veto for something as silly as, say, personal taste,” says Sarah. “If you were dating somebody and I could not understand why you found them attractive, that would not be sufficient reason for me to say, no, you can’t see this person.”

What counts as infidelity, then?

“Lying,” they chorus.

Now, I don’t post this stuff up in order to make some sort of moralistic point. You’re either convinced that this is appropriate or you’re not. What I’m interested in is the dynamic it brings to the gay marriage debate. Here we have what is represented as a loving, consensual, non-abusive relationship. By every measure of argument that gay marriage has been pushed into the public debate, this polyamorous relationship gets validation. Just consider the close…

Tom is cautiously optimistic that polyamory will become “average and everyday”.

“Anyone who is expecting some massive social change overnight is terribly mistaken, but it will happen.”

In the meantime, the four of them are planning an unofficial ceremony to mark their commitment to each other.

“Sometimes people just write the relationship off as a lazy way of getting more sex than you normally would. There are easier ways,” says Tom wryly.

They all agree managing a multi-partner relationship can be exhausting.

But we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other,” they chime.

Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. It “gay marriage” proponents don’t back this agenda then they really are just demonstrating their inconsistency – their argument of “love” fails.

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8 comments on “BBC Online Magazine Profiles Polyamory

  1. Yes, if you believe that if a same sex relationship that is consensual and between 2 adults is acceptable, then you cannot disagree with the above arrangement. 🙁

  2. I can’t see how this argument works David..

    You say: ”By every measure of argument that gay marriage has been pushed into the public debate, this polyamorous relationship gets validation.” Therefore, you conclude, those who condone SSM and not polyamory are inconsistent.

    While the expression is a little unclear, I take you to mean that all the morally relevant features (“every measure of argument”) of SSM are also found in polyamory. But this is obviously not the case. Putting aside the fact that, unlike SSM, polyamory does not itself involve marriage, the number of partners involved is not a feature shared by both types of relationships. So someone can consistently condone SSM while rejecting polyamory (or polygamy) on the grounds that they differ in at least one morally relevant respect: the number of partners.

    • Thanks Brian.

      It’s a good point, to which I’d respond by asking why ought we to make 2 people a limit? There’s no sense to it, is there, once you’ve divorced marriage from procreation as “gay marriage” so clearly does.

      Any insistence, then, on restricting the number of partners is without justification when the all-surmounting claim is “love”.

  3. Can you direct me to some specific instances in which people support SSM (based on an “all-surmounting claim” of “love”) but oppose a polyamourous relationships such as the one you mention? Perhaps then we can identify what their justifications might be.

    • Sure.
      This and this should get you started.

      But actually, I think you’re being a bit cheeky asking the question – it’s quite obvious in the media that “love” is being pushed hard as one of the major qualifying feature of these relationships.

      • You’ve changed your argument David? No longer is ‘love’ ‘all surmounting’ in these arguments, but now only a ‘major qualifying feature’.

        In any case, the discussions you linked confirm my point. The arguments put there show that someone can support SSM consistent with a rejection of polygamy (they didn’t specifically discuss polyamory). It is obviously not inconsistent to hold two different moral views about two different behaviours as long as you can identify a point of moral difference between them – just as those in the links did. Now, you might disagree with the moral differences proposed, but you can’t accuse them of inconsistency – some other error of logic perhaps, but not inconsistency.

        • It is obviously not inconsistent to hold two different moral views about two different behaviours as long as you can identify a point of moral difference between them – just as those in the links did.

          On the contrary. Nobody in those threads did any such thing, They may have made arbitrary distinctions but none had any consistent basis for that distinction.

          Love wins.

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