The lead-up to Valentine’s Day is when stories about love and relationships flood editor’s inboxes and front pages everywhere. True love that is, of course, exclusive between two people. Or is it?
For a group of Canadians who advocate for the right to be in more than one loving relationship at the same time, Valentine’s Day is a symbolic time to recall that, despite what we’re told, true love doesn’t have to be exclusively with just one other person, and it might be perfectly okay if it isn’t — so long as everyone is okay with it.
Polyamory, sometimes referred to as “ethical non-monogamy”, is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Among the concepts critical to the understanding of consent and of ethical behaviour within polyamory are gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among partners.
The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) fought for and won that “right” only just over two years ago, when on November 23, 2011, BC Supreme Court Justice Bauman released a landmark ruling pertaining to an old criminal law, the so called “anti-polygamy” law. Bauman released thousands of polyamorous Canadian families from potentially being captured by the law, so long as their relationships weren’t formalized, as with a marriage ceremony.
Thousands of Canadians are happily polyamorous but most choose to keep this fact to themselves. Increased understanding about polyamory and its acceptance in mainstream society will help reduce fear of persecution by those who practice it, says Zoe Duff, the association’s spokesperson and coordinator.
“The CPAA aims to increase general awareness of polyamory in the 2014, and further its role as a resource for polyamory organizers across the country,” explains Duff.
“We’re poly, we’re proud, and we’re going to continue our efforts to tell Canadians and the world that polyamory is here, is growing, and is most likely practiced by someone that you know.”
Newsweek Magazine reported that polyamory is a thriving phenomenon in the United States, with over half a million families openly living in relationships that include multiple consenting partners. While there is no conclusive data, the CPAA speculates that Canada has a similar ratio of polyamorists. See http://www.newsweek.com/id/209164
The CPAA advocates on behalf of Canadians who practice polyamory. It promotes legal, social, government, and institutional acceptance and support of polyamory, and advances the interests of the Canadian polyamorous community generally.