Love the Two or More You’re With?

Filed under News, Sexuality & Gender on January 11th, 2009 by M. French

Editor’s Note: The text below is slightly altered in wording and punctuation from the originally published version. Unless otherwise stated, we make no endorsements of the links, media, organizations, or people we report on.

In the ongoing cultural debate over gay marriage, those that oppose it will at times attempt to show that the arguments used in favor of same-sex marriage can just as easily be applied to polygamy, thus opening the door for its legalization if gay marriage is legalized. In response, the pro-gay-marriage crowd usually responds mockingly, with phrases like “we graduated from the second grade,” or “this is a straw man you’ve set up, polygamy has nothing to do with gay marriage.”

What happens, however, when a pro-gay writer on the biggest liberal blog on the net argues the same point as those opposed to gay marriage? On January 6th, Lee Stranahan published an article on The Huffington Post called Why Are Gay Marriage Advocates Not Defending Polyamory? He ends his article with the following:

But what’s a poly person to do if they want to enter into a committed relationship with the people they love? Polygamy – marriage to more than one person – is no more an option for conseting [sic] adults in the United States than gay marriage is in all states expect Massachusetts and Connecticut. If the rights of gay people are being trampled on, then it’s two states worse for poly people.

If you follow the same argument template as many gay marriage advocates, anyone who opposes polygamy is a bigot and a hater. Rick Warren has made it clear that he opposes poly relationship, too. And even comparing consensual poly relationship to Jeffs is equating polyamorists with PEDOPHILES!

If Melissa Etheridge has the right to marry Tammy Lynn Michaels – and I think she does – then [sic] Melissa and Tammy also have the same right to make it official with David Crosby, it they choose to do so. In fact, if they wanted to marry Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Linsday Lohan, Samantha Ronson, Mark Ronson AND Ani Difranco…it’s their choice and their right and it’d make quite a tour, too.

There’s no argument you can make against a poly marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument against gay marriage.

Aside from reasons of consistency, advocates of gay marriage should also be vocally in favor of polygamy since it allows bisexuals to be actively practicing married bisexuals. Bisexuals are the B in GLBT but they really get short shrift in the marriage discussion.

I’m in favor of real marriage equality. Love the one you’re with. Love the two or more you’re with, if you can work that out. Marry them if you’re into that kind of thing. But until the gay marriage movement embraces polygamy…well, they are just acting like bigots and haters, aren’t they?

“There is no argument you can make against poly marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument against gay marriage.” Exactly! And on the flip side, there is no argument you can make for gay marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument for polygamy. Lee Stranahan sees this, perhaps others in his camp will soon see this as well.

The reaction from the gay community has been shock and confusion. Jeremy Hooper from Good As You writes: “We’ve seen many anti-gays make the ‘gay marriage = polygamous marriage’ argument. But when it comes from a professed supporter of same-sex marriage equality, it’s a little harder to swallow.” He then responds to Mr. Stranahan’s article with the arguments that “Bisexuals are not innately polyamorous. We thought this went without saying, but apparently not. Bisexuality just means an attraction to both genders, not a CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIP with both sexes!” and (before changing it) “the fact is that marriage has always been considered a commitment between two people.”

Let us first consider his statement concerning bisexuality and polyamorous behavior. This was Mr. Hooper’s response to ADF’s Glen Lavy asserting that bisexuality and polygamy are related:

No Glen? You really don’t see any difference between a bisexual who wants two partners and a same-sex couple who wants one? Oh, well here, we graduated from the second grade — let us help you:

BISEXUALITY, LIKE HOMOSEXUALITY OR HETEROSEXUALITY, IS AN ORIENTATION, NOT A CHOSEN PATTERN OF COMMITMENT!!! Just like a man who is attracted to two different women must pledge a legal commitment to only the ONE of them who he intends to marry, a bisexual person must also enter into a union with only ONE PERSON! Bisexuality doesn’t mean a person is attracted to multiple partners — it just means that their capacity for finding their true love is not limited to only one specific gender!!!! It’s BIsexuality, not SIMULTANEOU-sexuality!! Stop pretending like you do not know this!!!!!

Alrighty, we feel better now. But you know what would REALLY ****(sexual reference edited out by VOR’s editor)***? If these self-professed good Christians would stop lying through their ever-loving teeth!

Glen Lavy and Lee Stranahan asserted the same belief, and yet Good As You treated Mr. Lavy with ridicule and contempt, accusing him of knowingly lying, while giving Mr. Stranahan nothing more than a humble correction. Without addressing the accuracy of their specific statements, what possible reason could there be for treating them so differently other than anti-Christian bigotry? Good As You declares that they “strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to eliminate discrimination and intolerance.” I ask Mr. Hooper to publically apologize for the glaring discrimination and intolerance shown by him towards Mr. Lavy and the Alliance Defense Fund.

Finally, let us look at his statement on historical marriage. Thankfully, Mr. Hooper eventually changed his laughably inaccurate statement “the fact is that marriage has always been considered a commitment between two people” to the toned down and slightly less absurd “marriage has largely been considered a commitment between two people.” However, one has to wonder how such a statement could ever have been published in the first place. The reason is that many in the LGBT community really believe it to be true. How? Could it be that many Americans have had their understanding of what marriage is supposed to look like shaped more by Hollywood than historical fact?  To many, marriage is exclusively a matter of falling in love, thus they have neither considered the historical foundations of marriage, nor the long-range impact gay marriage will have on society. The historical facts about marriage in reality (as opposed to made up ones) are as follows:

  1. The majority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of one man and one woman.
  2. A minority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of a man and one or more women.
  3. An infinitesimally small number of cultures throughout history have given some kind of recognition to same-sex unions, but even then, these relationships were primarily pederastic relationships, and even in those cases, these relationships were often abandoned when the older party involved got married to a person of the opposite sex. So, even in these rare instances of recognized or formalized same-sex unions, the union of two people of the same sex was not considered to be on an equal plane to marriage.

The truth is plain, I pray that those at Good As You, and gay activists everywhere, are willing to see it.



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3 comments
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  1. Marriage is a good thing. And gay marriage can be accepted is really a turning point for the life of LGBT. Actually, divorce may also happen to straight people. “As to love, we should cherish it and love the one you love..” it is what we all bisexual get after the discussion at the bisexual club of Bimingle.com . Anyway, making the law of marriage and divorce more complete is good thing for us LBGT. Thanks for giving us more right and making things easier for us.

  2. –”Glen Lavy and Lee Stranahan asserted the same belief, and yet Good As You treated Mr. Lavy with ridicule and contempt, accusing him of knowingly lying, while giving Mr. Stranahan nothing more than a humble correction.”

    Nothing more than a humble correction?  Mr. Stranahan got a full post, as well a thriving comments section in which he was a participant.  Be honest here.  He did not get any sort of a kid glove discussion because he is pro-gay. 

    –”Without addressing the accuracy of their specific statements, what possible reason could there be for treating them so differently other than anti-Christian bigotry?”

    Unfair.  Glen Lavy was not treated with ridicule and contempt.  No person on G-A-Y is treated with ridicule and contempt.  The site takes a lighter, irreverent tone (which is what was used in the 6/03/08 piece) — but the malice is directed only towards the rhetoric. 

    The reason why Glen Lavy’s messaging would be received differently from Lee Stranahan’s is because Mr. Lavy is an anti-gay personality.  His comment was not isolated to this one subject — he speaks out against the LGBT community on an almost daily basis.  We regularly challenge him.  Lee Stranahan is not someone who is working against our lives and loves — we just simply had a disagreement with him on this one presentation.  So yes, we quite openly take a stronger tone against Mr. Lavy.  it would be silly to suggest we shouldn’t!

    Oh, and I stand in firm opposition to the unfair idea that “anti-Christian bigotry” is even in play.  This is an annoying, self-serving argument that the “pro-family” community routinely trots out.  But the truth is that Good As You challenges arguments on their merits, not their attached religion.  And from our long case study on Glen Lavy, his arguments are hurtful and counterproductive to the sort of society we would like to see.  He may base his arguments in his faith, but we do not base our reactions on the same.

    –”Good As You declares that they “strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to eliminate discrimination and intolerance.” I ask Mr. Hooper to publically apologize for the glaring discrimination and intolerance shown by him towards Mr. Lavy and the Alliance Defense Fund.”

    An apology?  PUH-FRICKIN-PLEEZE!  The Alliance Defense Fund and Glen Lavy go to court to fight against our civil equality.  And while we don’t ever “attack’ the person and genuinely hold no malice towards Mr. Lavy himself, we quite unapologetically detest the sort of messaging that the ADF (and by extension, Lavy) fosters.  It’s a cliché but it’s true: It is not intolerant to stand against intolerance and discrimination. 

    It also confounds me why you think it is your place to ask for such an apology!  Mr. Lavy has willingly entered the public discourse and so have we.  Both of us can either engage in the conversation or we can walk away.  But it’s not even close to fair for you, an outsider to whatever discourse in which we have engaged, to referee. 

    –”Finally, let us look at his statement on historical marriage. Thankfully, Mr. Hooper eventually changed his laughably inaccurate statement “the fact is that marriage has always been considered a commitment between two people” to the toned down and slightly less absurd “marriage has largely been considered a commitment between two people.”

    This is intellectually dishonest of you.  You know from my comments section and my correction that I did not mean to convey this.  I mistyped.  I owned up to the error and changed it to read: “…whether you agree with the custom or not, the fact is that marriage, in modern society has largely been considered a commitment between two people.”  This is a solid fact.  In modern society, civil marriage has largely involved two participants.

    But for the life of me I can’t see what you are trying to convey in your final thoughts.  You seem out to disprove an argument I never made.  You seem to be implying that I said there is a huge record of same-sex marriage, which is not at all what I said.  The comment about modern marriage largely involving two people was to say that regardless of your thoughts on same-sex union, polyamorous unions, or unions in general, it has largely been a two participant system.  Now, obviously I am an advocate for same-sex unions (something you clearly oppose); but this is not what I was saying here.  I was merely assessing the structure of the modern marriage system (2 people, largely m/f) in comparison with the structure of poly unions.  I was saying that no matter where you stand on the subject, a poly change would be a much larger alteration that would opening the system to same-sex couples.   

  3. G-A-Y,

    With regard to Lavy/Stranahan, I asked for a public apology because this ministry supports ADF and because they are our fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus, if you mock them, you mock us (I’m sure you feel the same way about other people in the LGBT community).

    The definition of discrimination is : “treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit”

    Did you treat Mr. Lavy’s statement with a completely different attitude from Mr. Stranahan’s?
    Yes.
    Were their statements more or less the same?
    Yes.
    Thus some outside factor was in play here. You say it had nothing to do with Lavy’s Christian faith? Okay, I’ll accept that (rest assured I’ll do my best to keep you accountable to this statement in the future.) From your comment, it seems that you are saying the outside factor was that he and ADF have stood against what you are fighting for in the realm of homosexual rights. If this is true, then combined with your statement concerning “It is not intolerant to stand against intolerance and discrimination,” it seems that you are freely admitting to being intolerant and discriminatory toward those that disagree with you on homosexual issues.  Is this true? If it is then should you not change your website’s statement that you “strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to eliminate discrimination and intolerance,” to include “and we strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to encourage discrimination and intolerance toward those that disagree with us?” If I’m wrong in my logic, then please show me how. I’m doing nothing here other than keeping you accountable to your stated beliefs and goals. I’m open to (and encourage) the same thing in my life.

    With regard to my assesment of your statements on historical marriage, I was addressing the point you seemed to be making, which is that the foundation of marriage throughout history has been that it is made up of 2 people. Was this not your point? Thus, I tried to prove that the actual foundation of marriage has always been the union of male/female, showing that the numbers of people allowed in marriage has varied between cultures, but the fact that marriage is made up of male and female union has not. Did this not disprove your point?

    You said in your comment: “I was saying that no matter where you stand on the subject, a poly change would be a much larger alteration that [sic] would opening the system to same-sex couples.”  This is EXACTLY the point I was addressing.  A poly change would NOT be a much larger alteration than opening the system to same-sex couples as far as history is concerned, it would be the other way around.  Consider again my three points:

    1. The majority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of one man and one woman.
    2. A minority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of a man and one or more women.
    3. An infinitesimally small number of cultures throughout history have given some kind of recognition to same-sex unions, but even then, these relationships were primarily pederastic relationships, and even in those cases, these relationships were often abandoned when the older party involved got married to a person of the opposite sex. So, even in these rare instances of recognized or formalized same-sex unions, the union of two people of the same sex was not considered to be on an equal plane to marriage.

    If you accept these three facts, then how can you stand by your point that from a historical standpoint, “a poly change would be a much larger alteration that [sic] would opening the system to same-sex couples?”

    Again, my desire is to keep you accountable, and set the record straight.

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