Post edited 12:49 pm – May 7, 2010 by jbash
Here, for discussion, is one of the suggestions that have been made for the CPAA's basic policy position.
THIS IS NOT ADOPTED POLICY. In fact, many CPAA members and volunteers have not seen it. It's here to stimulate community input. Is it on the right track? If so, what should be changed? If not, where should we go?
Position on Minors in Conjugal and Sexual Relationships
We reject exploiting or disregarding the vulnerabilities of anyone in a relationship, including vulnerabilities related to age. Laws restricting marriage, conjugal cohabitation, and sexual activity by and with minors are proper. Such laws should apply identically to monogamy and polyamory.
Entering into a conjugal relationship, or into a binding conjugal commitment, whether monogamous or polyamorous, is a matter which may have serious and lasting effects on a person's well-being and that of others. Sexual activity, even without conjugality, is also a significant and life-affecting decision.
Young people may be led into, or may freely choose, arrangements which are unsuited or harmful to them. The concept of legal majority is rooted in this fact, as are the ages of consent applied to sexual activity.
We do not believe that minors should in general be bound to conjugal commitments, and we support legal restrictions which protect them from being so bound. We likewise support legal restrictions on minors entering into conjugal relationships without binding commitment. We recognize that the restrictions on simple conjugality may rightly differ from those on binding conjugal commitments, but take no position on whether the law should in fact apply a distinction in this area.
We support legal restrictions on sexual activity with and by minors. Because all three are different decisions having different impacts, the restrictions on sexual activity may properly differ from those on conjugality, which may again differ from those on binding conjugal commitment.
We take no position on the specific age or other criteria which should be applied in any of these three cases, or indeed on the age or other criteria to be used to determine legal majority. We believe that such criteria should be decided with close attention to available scientific knowledge about child and adolescent development, and that the liberty and personal choice interests of minors should be soberly weighed against their interests in being protected from harm. We have not studied, and have no particular objection to, the age criteria presently applied to monogamous relationships, and would have no particular objection to the application of identical criteria to polyamorous relationships.
Irrespective of legal or public policy considerations, we believe that conjugal, romantic and sexual relationships should be conducted with affirmative concern for the autonomy, feelings and well being of all involved. This includes due consideration and respect of personal vulnerabilities, including those associated with immaturity.