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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


Marriage: Who Is The "Decider"

My English teacher trained ears squicked when the previous U. S. President George Bush declared, "I am the decider."  The conversion of the term "decide" to a noun in this fashion somehow seemed infantile.  It was very like something I would expect from a petulant two year old....but then considering the source of this inanity, it made sense. Now I hear "decider" used frequently in everyday speech.  Not only did Bush commit us to an unnecessary war against a country that had not harmed us and that was counter-balancing Iran's influence in the Middle East, but by attacking Iraq he entangled us in a ten year war, achieving nothing but the lessening of our influence in the world, the destabilization of the Middle East, the energizing and empowerment of radical Islam in the region, all while squandering vast resources and, worse yet, lives, as he simultaneously reduced taxes assuring economic deficit and harm for America and much of the world.  So on balance Bush's having introduced the usage of "The Decider" to our parlance, pales in comparison to the havoc and horror he wrought.
Seminal to the discussion about marriage and its relation to law is the question, "Who is the Decider?"  Who is "The Decider" when people make the choice to form a committed family?  Is there a role for the state to determine who it is that may decide to become a family?  Or may adults decide to commit together in families regardless of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their number, their religion or lack thereof, or any other factors?  A codicil to that discussion is whether or not the state has the role of enforcing theological dictum.  If the Roman Catholics, the Evangelicals,  or the Mormons want to declare LGBTQ marriage out of bounds, is it the role of the state to enforce their moral judgement on all of us regardless of our own belief and value systems.........our decisions?
This is not as complicated as some would have it.  The state must not be "the decider" when it comes to adults committing to form a family.  It is the adults involved that have the right to determine with whom they will commit to marry and forge a family unit.  We are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under the U. S. the basis of that constitution, in fact.  The state has no role in determining which of us may choose to bond in this fashion.  Nor does it have any role in forcing any theological perspective on any of us.  The extent to which our laws mirror religion should be entirely coincidental, and not at all causal.
I read the political calculations, in comments on sue's previous post, that to mention polyamory (or polygamy) in today's conversation about the U. S. Supreme Court's deliberation about the LGBTQ marriage question would harm the chances to reform LGBTQ marriage law.  A commenter expressed that, "after all plural marriage issues had their day in court a hundred or so years ago."  To include them in this conversation about marriage now would "muddy the waters."  If that line of reasoning were followed, there could be no reconsideration of the marital prohibition of marriage between LGBTQ partners.  LGBTQ marriage has had so many previous "days in court," and so many votes in referenda which have denied the LGBTQ community's members this basic human right, that were previous court decisions to block reconsideration, there could be no opportunity to reform this injustice. Just as blacks had numerous court decisions and votes that upheld slavery until finally a decision was made to end that atrocity, we have no right to deny any constitutionally guaranteed human right because of previous wrong-headed  court decisions.
Basic to my understanding of  this issue are:
-The state should sanction the marriage of willing adults who seek to commit to spend their lives that called a civil union, or marriage or whatever. 
 -Rights and privileges awarded by the state to families which have married should accrue to everyone who chooses to be married regardless of their gender, number, race, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
-Religions may choose to ritually sanctify whatever form of family structure they choose to.  Their sanctification of those families (or the lack of religious sanctification) should provide no different legal benefit to a family than to any other family whose marriage has no religious sanctification.
Now in my retirement, I have the luxury of time to listen to conversations such as the recent U. S. Supreme Court hearing of the LGBTQ marriage case.  I think it is interesting that that session, at several points, did, in fact, include discussion of the impact of polyamory (they actually used that term) on this issue's domain.  It included an estimate that today there are approximately 500,000  poly families in the U. S.  So if including polyamory in this deliberation "muddies the waters," then muddied they are.
There was mention made in sue's previous post's comments that the majority of poly families in the U. S. are FLDS.  In my time in the poly community I have never encountered a Mormon family.  Now certainly that is hardly a scientific sampling of the community, but in that much of that contact is via nationwide web-based fora, I AM surprised that I have never encountered any Mormon families if, in fact, it were true that Mormons are anything like a majority of the poly community.
I don't dare hope that we will someday be able to expand teresa's and my marriage to include our sue.  I know had we the option to do so, we would all marry with great enthusiasm.  We can, though, raise the issue.  Why can we not pursue our lives and our happiness as is constitutionally guaranteed to most?  Why are we not permitted this same right?  Why does the state have the right to determine who may or may not marry?  Why should theology or religious custom have any bearing on the state's policies regarding who may marry?  I would be not at all concerned if there was no religion that wanted to sanctify our marriage. In fact I think it would be preferable.
Quite some while ago in The Swan's Heart (the predecessor blog to The Heron Clan) I wrote a piece called, "The Origins Of Modern Monogamy."   It responds to the quite prevalent fallacy that all marriage is, and has always been monogamous, and the further fallacy that there is a Judeo/Christain historical basis for monogamy that rests in theology.  It is linked below. I hope it provides context for my perspective.
 Origins of Modern Monogamy at The Swan's Heart
Who is "The Decider" when it comes to who marries? It is us...each one of us in our lives with our partners -- our loves! 
Who is "The Decider" of who may not marry?  It is absolutely beyond the purview of the state to have this veto power over our personal lives.
All the best,
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined.

1 comment:

  1. I think each of us is the decider.


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