‘Same-sex marriage’ vs ‘marriage equality’ and polyamory

Okay, confusing title, I know. But I’ll do my best to untangle it.

Mariage equality is a burning topic of debate right now, and one of the little things I’ve noticed in these discussions is the use of the term ‘same-sex marriage’ or ‘gay marriage’ vs ‘mariage equality’. Many people insist that mariage equality is the more politically correct term.

Well, you might see where I’m going with this blog entry.

The thing is, ‘mariage equality’ implies… well, equality. In general. Not specifically for same-sex couples. But, that’s kind of what people mean when they say marriage equality. They mean to say they support/condone same-sex marriage without regard for other types of relationships and their legal status. So why do people want the term ‘marriage equality’ to be used?

From what I’ve gathered, it seems that the main two reason are ‘same-sex marriage’ excludes trans and non-binary people, and the other being that it alienates gay people, making their marriage seem different from ‘normal’ marriage. Sure. Those seem like good reasons to use a different term. But then there’s the kicker. The alternative term, ‘marriage equality’ implies that once gays can marry, marriage rights will be equal across the board. And you can bet your ass I don’t agree with that sentiment.

So it seems that no matter which label you use, you are going to be incorrect- either alienating gay people, excluding trans people, or excluding poly people. For a while I was divided on this issue in my own mind. And then I read an article that made me see things another way.

Murray Lipp’s (2 year old) article explores the uses of both terms, and in it I found an interesting excerpt:

Marriage equality,” […] refers to the equal allocation of rights and benefits to all married couples, regardless of whether those couples are opposite-sex or same-sex. It does not describe a type of marriage.1

That’s when I found a happy medium in my own mind. We don’t need to change the term
‘marriage equality’ to be inclusive of polyamourous relationships. We just need to change its context. Marriage equality is a term that can be used for both same-sex couples and polyamorous families… and it doesn’t have to mean both at the same time. The US recently achieved marriage equality for same-sex couples, but that doesn’t have to imply they achieved marriage equality all-round.

At the end of the day, as long as any consenting adult can be in the relationship they chose without fear, the jargon doesn’t matter so much. It’s just always good to think about this stuff.
‘Till next time!

-Emma

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Polyphobia…?

6No matter where you go or what you do in life, there will always be someone who will be offended or disgusted. Polyamory is no exception. I’ve come across a few ‘polyphobes’ in my time, and most of the time it doesn’t even bother me. In fact, closed-mindedness and unfounded anger tends to make me laugh.

But there’s one thing I just don’t get, and that’s how someone could be pro-gay and anti-poly.

JUST HOW. THE HYPOCRISY BLOWS MY MIND.

This isn’t just me venting about one dumb argument I had with someone, by the way. Out of all the polyphobes I’ve met, MOST of them were also pro-gay. It’s made me realise that when people say they are pro-equality, many actually just mean they are pro-whateveriscooltosupportatthemoment. It saddens me to think that ‘gay’ is just one more label that’s becoming accepted, rather than people themselves becoming more accepting.

The arguments I hear are the same that people use when comparing interracial marriage and gay marriage. “BUT IT’S DIFFERENT!!11”. Yeah… I guess it is a bit different, but it still doesn’t concern you. So um… kindly fuck off? Thanks.

-Emma

Being polyamorous in Hobart, Australia

Ash, Aidan and I live in a small but slowly developing town called Hobart. It’s at the bottom of the world, quite literally. If you look at a map of Australia, you’ll notice Tasmania, the little triangle-shaped island south of the mainland. Almost at the very bottom of this island is Hobart. It’s a beautiful place and there are lots of great things about living here.

But one of the best things is that Tasmania is full of hippies progressive people. While not legalised yet, gay marriage is widely supported. It’s culturally diverse and everywhere you go there’s art, community projects and good food and wine. Being the place that it is, Hobart is a pretty damn convenient place to find yourself as a polyamorous person.

Don3‘t get me wrong, we do get some weird looks when we walk down the street hand-in-hand-in-hand. Polyamory is only just starting to come into the public eye, and a lot of people still don’t even know what it is. But for the most part, the residents here are pretty relaxed and easy going, and I like to think that’s not just because they’re all high on weed.

‘Coming out’ to our friends and family was actually pretty easy. Aside from a couple of people who were worried I was taking advantage of Ash, the news was quite well received. But I’m leaving the details of that story for another post :)

Thanks for reading!

-Emma

Thoughts on “The One”

I often tell my partners, “you’re one of the ones for me”.

I grew up in a Christian, monogamous, white, middle-class family. As such, I went through life believing that the end goal was the find The One, buy a house with a white-picket fence and have 2.5 children. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting that (in fact it’s still what I want, only with two husbands instead of one). But the idea of finding The One, someone who is perfect for you in every way and can fulfill your every need, is a concept that I’ve questioned since entering into the world of polyamory.

In fact, I’ve questioned it since before then, just not consciously. In my teens, I went to see Australian/English comedian and singer Tim Minchin at a live show. He often explores issues which are serious in nature, but presents them in a comical way (for example, his answer to the conflict between Jews and Muslims is for them to bond over the mutual abstaining of pork).

And while it’s not one of his best or funniest songs, “If I Didn’t Have You” really drives home the idea of The One being pretty ridiculous.

At the time I went to see Minchin, I had being going out with Ash maybe 2 or 3 years, and I was starting to believe he really was The One. So this idea of there being many other possible partners for me who could make me equally happy kind of stewed in my subconscious for a while.

Fast-forward to when I became involved with Aidan. I always knew it was possible to love two people at the same time, but actually experiencing it was something else entirely. That was when I realised, I loved Aidan just as much as Ashley. And, had I met him first, he probably would have made me equally happy in our first few years of monogamy. So in retrospect, Mr. Minchin’s words make a lot of sense to me.

In conclusion, I guess you could say that people can find The One. It’s just that there might be Two Ones or even Three, Four or More Ones for you out there.