The Corner

Polyamory, Marriage, and Children

The Boston Globe story that Kathryn references has interesting implications for the law of marriage. Using the theory propounded by the challengers to Proposition 8 in California, one could easily argue that a person with a bisexual or polyamorous “orientation” ought to be free to marry the persons of their choice and that the failure of the law to provide for this option singles out a class of persons based on some innate characteristic for discriminatory treatment.

It also has implications for the law of parenting since the kinds of “relationships” described in the story provide likely scenarios for a court to decide that all of the adults in a household are legal parents who on breakup will get some piece of the child’s time, attention, and loyalty.

The story quotes one person as suggesting that children will be okay as long as the multiple-person sexual relationship is something that they are made “comfortable” with. This trickle-down theory of child well-being (as long as the adults are happy, their children will be too) should have been discarded when it was effectively rebutted by the experience of the no-fault divorce revolution, but even very bad ideas have real staying power when they help people to justify their own desires.

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