We are the poly majority: negotiated, individualized, consensual, egalitarian.
Almost nobody who knows who we are wants to outlaw us, or bother us in any way. But a lot of people don’t know who we are. We must be seen.
The law criminalizing “polygamy” was intended for others, and we now have a decision that it excludes a lot of us. But it doesn’t exclude all of us… and there are many, many other social issues for us. Among them the fact that Parliament COULD, under the judge’s reasoning, extend the law to outlaw egalitarian polyamory (or for that matter monogamy).
In the 2009 test of section 293 of Canada’s Criminal Code, the most extreme patriarchal polygynists became the “poster children” for that challenge. They are the polar opposite of polyamorists and are a minority among the mutiply-partnered. They are probably a minority among the patriarchal minority itself – but the debate was mostly about them. Lots of Canadians don’t realize exactly how small a minority they are. Or even that they’re a minority at all.
In fact, lots of people don’t even know what the law says; they think it forbids what they do, and not what any of us do. And nobody supports arranged child marriages to old men.
As long as people think of multiple partners in terms of Bad Guys, we’re not going to make much more progress on any front.
Like it or not, the face of “polygamy”, as many Canadians see it, is an ugly one… and a false one.
Although the 2011 court decision permits most, but not all, polyamory families, another supreme court case could revise this decision – either criminalizing all of us or protecting all of us. And our issue could end up in Parliament or a provincial Legislator where, under the present decision or using the Notwithstanding Clause, would be free to do pretty much anything it wanted.
This is a political battle, and political battles are won on perception. It’s critical that people know exactly who and what is really criminalized. Parliament and the public won’t think to protect us if they don’t know we exist.
We must be seen. And we must be seen as the majority. We need your help. You, personally, need to be as visible as you can.
It looks, for the moment, like must of us aren’t criminal. And none of us are what prosecutors WANT to attack. We can think about coming out of the shadows.
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