What's Monogamy Got to Do With Marriage?

What's Monogamy Got to Do With Marriage?

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As marriage-equality wins ignite in U.S. states and nations throughout the world, the question of what makes a family has been drawn into mainstream debate. The vital importance of marriage rights for same-sex couples, whether or not they're "just like straight couples" (whatever that means!) cannot be overstated. However, one can't help but wonder whether the focus on gay marriage left-handedly stigmatize partnerships that don't look "just like a traditional marriage."

As marriage-equality wins ignite in U.S. states and nations throughout the world, the question of what makes a family has been drawn into mainstream debate. The vital importance of marriage rights for same-sex couples, whether or not they're "just like straight couples" (whatever that means!) cannot be overstated. However, one can't help but wonder whether the focus on gay marriage left-handedly stigmatize partnerships that don't look "just like a traditional marriage."

What about polyamorous partnerships, open relationships, and other points on the broad spectrum of non-monogamy, in which many people both within and outside LGBT communities have been engaging successfully since time immemorial? LGBT people have been building their own versions of healthy, loving relationships and families for generations, without support or sanction from the state -- and in many families, monogamy is not part of the picture.

This Pride Month, let's take a moment to celebrate and learn from partnerships whose definitions were drawn without a clear social blueprint -- and gather insights that could benefit any healthy relationship.