Poly makes the cover in Calgary

Fast Forward WeeklyFast Forward Weekly is a progressive newspaper distributed to 1,300 coffee shops, restaurants, stores, and other locations around Calgary, Alberta. A couple weeks ago, a story on polyamory made it to the cover, along with the words "POLYAMORY IS NORMAL."

The article, entitled "It takes more than two," profiles several poly folks from Calgary and includes a few quotes from a Calgary sexologist.

Grant Shiels, a man in a triad, shares an analogy about the abundance of love within open relationships:

Making room on his calendar for three people is a challenge, Shiels acknowledges, but he disputes the common argument that, love being a finite commodity, polyamorous people will inevitably get less of it from their partners. Finding the time for his partners may be difficult, but finding the love isn't.

"Sometimes I use the analogy of, if I were to have only one child, that would be great, I would love that child unconditionally and unreservedly -- but if I had three or four children, would that change anything? In fact, I would say I'm blessed even more for having that much love and dynamic in my life."

Read the rest at Fast Forward Weekly.

Canada’s The Globe and Mail talks poly

Canada's largest national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, came out with an article on polyamory that is surprisingly non-judgmental. Although it doesn't offer much more than a cursory look at the community, it does a good job of explaining what polyamory is about to those who may have questions.

The article begins by mentioning recent newsworthy poly stuff, such as the three-person civil union in Brazil and the Showtime reality show. It gives some history of the movement, mentions some public figures and books (including Opening Up), and discusses last December's Supreme Court decision in British Columbia. The author also makes the distinction between polyamory and polygamy.

The crux of the article, though, are the quotes from Natalia Garcia (creator and executive producer of Polyamory: Married & Dating), Elisabeth Sheff (sociologist who has studied polyamorous families for years), an anonymous poly couple, and Kamala Devi (one of the cast members of Polyamory: Married & Dating).

It's a pretty great introductory article to the world of polaymory as it stands today. Read the whole thing at The Globe and Mail.

Polyamory in Winnipeg, Manitoba

An article on poly relationships was published on the front page of the E section in Manitoba's oldest newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press. The piece profiles Michelle and Michael, a rural Manitoba married couple who accepted a third partner into their lives when Michelle fell in love with a friend named Liam.

Her feelings for Liam did not negate, trump or interfere with her love for her husband -- which has only deepened and grown for their ability to stay together through the whole experience, Michelle says.

"What I had to learn through this whole process is that fidelity does not have to be defined through exclusivity, she says.

"Polyamoury provided me with a context to make sense of my feelings for both (men), understanding that just as a parent can have deep and equal love for more than one child, so can an adult have deep and equal love for more than one partner."

The article also features interviews with Anlina Sheng, a poly activist and moderator at PolyWinnipeg, and John Ince, a Vancouver lawyer and spokesman for the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association. There is also a nifty sidebar with quotes and poly terminology.

What the Canadian ruling means for polyamorists

It's been a month and a half since the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding Canada's anti-polygamy law and narrowing its scope. In the poly community, nobody was quite sure how to react to the ruling. Now that the dust has settled, the attorney who represented the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association in the case has released an open letter to the Canadian polyamory community.

The attorney, John Ince, is poly himself, and although he thinks that the "scope of the prohibition" is too extreme, he believes that the decision is an overall positive one for polyamorists.

In general terms, I think that the decision allows us to do virtually anything the vast majority of polyamorists would want to do . . . His decision makes it clear that polyamorists are not criminals and this is a major step forward for our community to gain social acceptance and become more integrated into mainstream Canadian culture.

The reason for this, Ince explains, is that the ruling only criminalizes institutionalized marriages that are non-monogamous. Due to the definitions of the words "institutionalized" and "marriage," this law does not apply to poly relationships.

I conclude that given the lack of polyamorous history, sanction or support for "polyamorous marriage," that polyamorous people cannot form the type of marriages that the judge found are prohibited.

I go so far as to say that even if polyamorous people wanted to form such relationships, they cannot. The whole structure of institutionalization that the judge emphasized over and over again as key to his decision is simply lacking in our community.

. . . Because there is no polyamorous institution of marriage, how far can polyamorous people go in celebrating and formalizing their relationships? In my view: probably as far as they want.

So, polyamorists are free to have ceremonies, take vows of love, and exchange rings. To remove any legal risk, Ince suggests that any commitment ceremony refrain from using the word "marriage," or if that is not possible, avoid including any "official" in the process. A marriage is not a marriage under the law unless it is enforced by an institutionalized sanctioning authority.

And there are other upsides to the ruling, Ince explains.

Because the court found that polyamorous relationships that are not institutionalized into a form of marriage are lawful, people in such relationships no longer have to face the chilling argument in child custody, immigration or other matters that they are criminals. That is obviously a very positive outcome of this case.

Further, nothing in this case prevents people in cohabiting polyamorous relationships from entering contracts with respect to most key family issues, such as community property and the care of children, and hospital privileges.

For more in-depth, specific information on the implications of the Canadian ruling for the poly community, read Ince's full statement.