While hundreds of people gathered at Town Hall on Sunday to rally for same-sex marriage rights, calls for the recognition of polyamorous relationships and relationships involving more than two partners have been decidedly absent from the discourse.
The marriage equality campaign has maintained strong momentum since efforts were ramped up following the Howard government’s 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act banning same-sex marriages.
Campaign Coordinator of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome said his organisation was only concerned with the rights of traditionally structured families.
“Australian Marriage Equality’s position is quite clear– our one and only aim is equality for same-sex couples within the Marriage Act,” he said. “We are not campaigning for any other form of marriage.
“We don’t seek to change the definition of marriage; we want same-sex couples to be able to marry under the current definition. That means marriage as a lifelong union between two people.”
2012 Sydney University Greens on Campus convener, Brigitte McFadden will be introducing a policy to support the recognition and acceptance of polyamorous relationships at the National Union of Students National Conference in December.
“The idea that love can only be between two people comes from the conservative definition of a ‘legitimate relationship’ between one man and one woman,” Ms McFadden said.
“This is the same definition that oppresses same-sex partners. How are multiple partner relationships any different?”
Spokesperson on the Status of Women and Sexuality and Gender Identity, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said her party does not support polygamous marriage.
“We never have … it’s not in our policy,” Ms Faehrmann said.
“The loudest voices on this issue are the far-right antiequality voices like the ACL’s Jim Wallace and Senator Cory Bernardi, who are simply scaremongering in a desperate attempt to destabilise the movement for marriage equality.
“As a feminist, I have serious concerns about the implications of polygamy for women, particularly in some extreme elements of religious communities where polygamy is used to control, almost own, women.”
Ms McFadden said this argument is a red herring.
“Polyamory and polygamy are not the same thing,” she said. “Polyamory refers to consensual relationships between more than two consenting adults.
“As a feminist, I have serious concerns about the implications of conservative rhetoric that dictates the type of relationships women can have with other people. If a women wants to be in a relationship with a man and a women and another man, why shouldn’t she have the right to marry those partners.”
Young Greens member Rafi Alam said the government had no place in restricting consensual relationships.
“Of course, they should ensure there is consent, but in the same way we disallow non-consensual monogamous marriages, we should allow consensual polyamorous marriages,” he said
By Mariana Podesta-Diverio & Jason Marshall