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‘Love’ As License For Polygamy

A divorced single mom who moved in with her best friend and her friend’s husband, and who is now living and raising kids in a polyamorous triad, bemoans the meanness of the world. From an interview on the “Unfundamentalist Christians” blog (whose motto is “Above all, love”):

The world is pretty set up for couples. Do you ever feel a desire to be just a “normal” one-on-one coupley relationship? You know what I mean? Does it ever get kind of lonely knowing you’re living out such a radically different kind of love/relationship from the rest of the world?
The only reason I would want to be only a couple is just to be able to walk outside the door of my home while hanging all over my partner. If I wanted to, anyway. I can’t do that. I always took that for granted, as a straight woman in a heterosexual marriage. I never thought about the fact that I “got” to hold my partner’s hand in the grocery store. I just did it if I wanted to. I never thought about the fact that he “could” put his arm around me in a social setting. I just took it for granted. Now, I don’t take those things for granted anymore. It is something that bothers us all. One of my partners swears that this whole experience might just turn her into a full-on gay rights activist marching in parades. We felt bad for gay couples before, but we never actually understood what it FELT like. It’s horrible.

In the beginning of all of this, when we were first talking and wondering, I realized that the only reason I would not be willing to do this was because my society did not approve of it as a valid choice. It just seemed a shame to turn down something that felt so right on so many levels, all because of wanting to maintain social approval. On my death bed, am I going to gasp out, “Well, turned down a joy-filled life with my two best friends, all so that the world would like me!” Never! I like social approval as much as the next person, but it’s not worth choosing over love.

And I do I love my two partners. I love our life together. I love our big happy home. But I do not love the fact that I live in a community that would rather me live as a struggling single mom to four children than to have the support of two adults who love me dearly as a life-partner. The fact that my community would believe wholeheartedly that my sexual relationship with my abusive ex-husband was righteous, but that my sexual relationship with two committed life-partners (if they knew about it) is unrighteous, just seems so hypocritical. It especially makes no sense how they define “biblical marriage,” when the Bible is full of life unions with multiple partners. “One man, one woman,” really? What Bible are they reading, anyway?

Is there any sexual practice or rutting permutation that cannot and will not be justified as “love”? This is what happens when subjective feeling sets the standard for what constitutes a marriage and a family. Says the reader who sent this to me:

Progressives just can’t get their story straight: you’re a bigot for even suggesting that gay marriage will lead to polygamy, and you’re an even bigger bigot for not fully accepting polygamy.

It’s perfectly logical, actually, if you accept the premise that the only moral criterion that matters is consent, and to disagree makes you a straight-up hater.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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