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Two CA Cities Push to Formally Recognize Polyamory

Berkeley and Oakland, California, are on the brink of becoming the first West Coast cities to formally recognize polyamorous family arrangements. Polyamory, also known as consensual non-monogamy, involves engaging in multiple romantic or sexual relationships with the consent of everyone involved. The two city councils have proposed legislation aimed at broadening nondiscrimination safeguards to include polyamory and other “diverse family structures” in sectors like housing and public services. 

The legislation is based on an ordinance written by the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition, an organization that seeks to advance the “civil and human rights” of “multi-partner/multi-parent families, diverse family structures, and relationships involving consensual non-monogamy.” The bill expands the definitions of “family” and “intimate personal relationship” and introduces a civil financial penalty for any “rights” violations by city services or facilities.

The California Family Council is vehemently opposed to any measure that affirms polyamorous relationships. “The push by Berkeley and Oakland to formalize polyamorous families is cultural suicide,” said Greg Burt, Vice President of CFC. “History and experience have shown children thrive best in nuclear father, mother, and child families. A civilization that rejects this biblical model for family life, is hell-bent on its own destruction.”

Chosen Family Law Center, a nonprofit “dedicated to cultivating equitable social and legal recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) and polyamorous families and individuals,” is also actively supporting the bill. “The impact of this nondiscrimination law on non-nuclear and polyamorous families extends beyond cities in which it passes,” said Diana Adams, Executive Director of Chosen Family Law Center. “These laws raise awareness about the many forms of modern family and declare discrimination against them unacceptable and unlawful. That reduces stigma for us everywhere.”

One of the many issues with this bill is that polyamory places adult satisfaction above children’s welfare. Katy Faust, the founder and president of the family advocacy group Them Before Us, has highlighted the dangers of polyamory to children. “In our cultural imagination, marriage is simply a vehicle for adult fulfillment and totally disconnected from child-rearing,” she said, adding that the introduction of even one unrelated adult into a family heightens the risk of child abuse and neglect. Polyamory advocates are disregarding the impact such relationships have on children.

Further, Ashley McGuire, in a piece for The Institute for Family Studies, accurately labeled the media’s advocacy for polyamory as “cultural and emotional malpractice.” “[W]e have more social science than ever making clear that a stable and committed marriage is best for women, children, and men in terms of their emotional, physical, mental, and financial well-being… [R]esearch has found that long-term stability and happiness are tied to having less, not more, sexual partners, with the least likely cohort to divorce being women whose only sexual partner in life is the man they married.”

Social scientist Arthur Brooks affirms this fact, writing in The Atlantic, “In 2004, a survey of 16,000 American adults found that for men and women alike, ‘The happiness-maximizing number of sexual partners in the previous year is calculated to be 1.’”

Any family structure that deviates from the nuclear family, with one mother and one father, wreaks havoc on an entire household. 



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