What to make of that report in The Brussels Journal that a trio has “married” in Belgium? Even though it is not a formally legal marriage, this is an important step. The article says that the groom and his two brides had their marriage “duly registered” as a “civil union” by a notary. This may actually mean that the three signed a governmentally recognized “cohabitation contract.” Such contracts have had official status for some time in neighboring Holland. It’s important to know exactly whether and how this union will be officially recognized by the government–but not decisive. That’s because, as I noted in “Going Dutch?” the Dutch gay marriage movement began by setting up symbolic marriage registries in sympathetic cities and towns. Those marriages had no legal force, yet they paved the way for a broader movement that eventually led to full legalization.
Although my sense of it is that the polyamory movement is far more organized in the U.S. than in Europe, there is some rudimentary polyamory organization in Belgium’s neighbor, The Netherlands. So some potential for greater use of legally recognized cohabitation contracts for multi-partner marriage in the region already exists.
Let it not be forgotten that a couple of years ago, a Dutch woman “married” herself. To read more, check out this UPI piece on the nuptials of Jennifer Hoes by Uwe Siemon-Netto. That marital subtraction in 2003 was clearly a portent of the marital addition of 2005.
For my own take on the slippery slope and related issues, there’s “Beyond Gay Marriage,” “Rick Santorum Was Right,” And “The Libertarian Question.”
I think it’s fair to say that the triple “marriage” in Belgium is news. As many on the Net immediately realized, it has a direct bearing on key cultural issues up for grabs right now in this country. So why hasn’t MSM jumped on the story? Could it be they don’t want to publicize something that will not help the movement for same-sex marriage? Maybe serious journalists are on the case right now, checking out the details for a thorough and accurate story. Maybe we’re going to see MSM reports on this story any day. But if we don’t, it would be a serious journalistic omission, and a clear indication of media bias. Ananova news service in Britain has already picked this up. So haven’t the wire services run with this story in America?