Let's Legalize Polyamory

And let's privatize marriage, too: Jillian Keenan

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 13, 2013 1:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – Meet Richard Gilmore. He's involved in a relationship with a woman named Vicki, her husband Jim, and Jim's girlfriend Maria. They're polyamorists, and they consider themselves a true "family," Gilmore says. Polyamorists practice "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy," but unlike polygamists, they're not motivated by religion, writes Jillian Keenan on Slate. Even so, a polyamory support organization finds that 65% of polyamorous families wish they could legalize their unions, and another 20% would consider doing so. And why not let them?

Sure, legal recognition of such marriages would be complicated, and, of course, there's the fear that opening the door to polyamorous marriages would lead to more fraud. But that's not an argument against legalizing polyamory, it's an argument for privatizing marriage. "Why not take the government out of marriage entirely?" Then churches could dictate whatever marriage rules they want, while consenting human adults could enter into a private marriage contract with whomever they choose. It's a controversial idea, especially when it comes to children, but studies have found that polyamorous living situations can actually be good for kids. Click for Keenan's full column.

  (Shutterstock)
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Is marital status the best standard by which to determine access to government benefits, or could we find a better way through marriage privatization? - Jillian Keenan

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