Polyamorists – several operating in positions of high authority in the Greensparty hierarchy – are renewing their vow to get the same legal protection for their multiple-partnered relationships as male/female couples receive from the Marriage Act, creating a well-organised lobby group Polyamory Action Lobby or PAL to champion the cause.
Their website declares:
Polyamory is not a niche phenomenon – it is a lifestyle and sexual identity that exists throughout mainstream society and the LGBTIQ community. We will not allow our elected representatives to ignore us any longer.
The Polyamory Action Lobby’s key operatives and founders are Greensparty up-and-comers Brigitte Garozzo/McFadden (the convenor of the Sydney Uni Greensparty), Timothy Scriven, an “anarcho-revolutionaary libertarian socialist” who describes himself on Facebook as “an active member of the Greens on Campus” and Kieran Adair who wrote on New Matilda that he is “a Green.”
The group has recently launched its campaign, complete with website and social media campaign and is passionately engaging with prominent Greensparty figures to have their voice heard on “poly love.”
OPPORTUNISTS CONFRONT DILEMMA
The move comes as Greensparty MPs descended on Sydney to make the most of photo opportunities at the Gay Mardi Gras, a once-controversial parade that has now become a great tourist attraction, rightly embraced by NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell as a great blessing for Sydney. Even Fred Nile seems more relaxed about the whole thing these days.
So while pushing for the apparently popular cause of gay marriage is relatively straight-forward politics for the Greensparty, it finds itself under considerable and growing pressure from the well-connected and well-organised Greensparty polyamory faction to allow for marriages to allow for more than two partners, a decidedly less popular cause. Indeed, the language and arguments used by the polyamorists is strongly reminiscent of that used by same-sex marriage campaigners.
EQUAL LOVE – BUT NOT FOR EVERYONE
For reasons they haven’t ever fully explained other than by reference to pragmatism or suggesting it could usher in Saudi/Utah style marriages where one man could have multiple relatively powerless wives, current Greensparty politicians, including Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has championed other changes to the Marriage Act, including to allow for same-sex marriage, are on the record opposing equal legal recognition of polyamorist relationships.
On SHY’s Facebook page, a debate among her supporters has arisen, that has left her and her staff concerned she is open to charges of bigotry, prejudice, hypocrisy and double standards on the proposed law reform. One opined, as noted by gay marriage opponent, Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi in a recent Senate debate:
The first time in a long time the Greens have disappointed me. I know that it might be politically expedient to cast us poly people out but true marriage equality should let the people getting married decide what their family looks like.
Bernardi told the Senate that the Greensparty is adopting a gradualist approach to the issue, pursuing same-sex marriage between only two people first, before pursuing other issues than appear to have less community support. He got into a fire-storm of criticism when last year when suggest that bestiality might also be on the agenda.
However, while the bestiality claims appear to have been speculative, and possibly designed to highlight his preferred position of not changing the Marriage Act at all, his well-researched remarks to the Senate certainly confirm a rising tide of support for polyamory among the Greensparty membership and the gay community generally. It threatens to cause the Greensparty a serious problem.
Interestingly, the PAL group favourably quoted Senator Bernardi on its Facebook page and even urged polyamorists to read Bernardi’s analysis:
“It is worth noting that in the Netherlands the first civil union of three partners was registered in 2005. It is naive and wrong to think that the same push will not come to Australia.” Cory Bernardi
Couldn’t agree more – thanks for your support patriot! Though your stalking of our members on facebook is a little disturbing.
GREENSPARTY SPLITS OVER SOME BEING MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
The battle between pragmatic careerist cynics within the Greensparty, who often occupy staffer positions in Canberra, with its most cynical hub being in the Leader’s bunker, where they masterminded efforts like stripping controversial policy positions from their national platform to avoid criticism, is one of the most interesting political battles in the country.
In New South Wales, virulently anti-Israel politicians from the Greensparty, like former communist Lee Rhiannon, have led the charge with boycotts of Israel while in Victoria, the Greensparty state MPs only mention of Israel in the Hansard is a positive reference to its water projects. On this and many other issues the Greensparty is increasingly divided.
On polyamory, it’s clear that there is a strongly emerging tendency within the Greensparty that is already agitating for the policy change that they’ll eventually find hard to resist. One Sarah Hanson-Young cheerleader and Greensparty member, James Dominguez, the President of Bisexual Alliance Victoria wrote:
If there is ever a popular movement to legalise poly marriage in the future, The Greens will be the first to lend their support, I guarantee it. A few poly people are angry with them for not expressing support, but I think we need to be realistic.
The Australian explained Mr Dominguez lives with his wife Rebecca and Mr Dominguez’s boyfriend and Ms Dominguez’s boyfriend.
There is genuine division in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, lesbian and transgender community on the issue that appears likely to put increasing pressure on the Greensparty not to sell-out their polyamorous supporters. And it’s not just a few noisy Uni students, either making a noise.
ACT GREENSPARTY BOSS PUSHES POLYAMORY RIGHTS
The Greensparty are half a chance of getting a Senator elected in the ACT, with the candidacy of Simon Sheikh, the founder of GetUp! who was nearly faced with the prospect of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by feisty Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella on the set of ABC’s Q&A.
The boss of the Greensparty in the ACT, convenor Simon Copland is demanding they take action on the polyamory issue. He attacked gay marriage activists who wanted to impose an “exclusive” restriction on the legalisation of gay marriage:
Yet, something is happening in significant parts of the queer movement and I don’t like it. I am now seeing major queer organisations and queer activists develop exclusive habits, excluding those who they think don’t fit the mainstream gay and lesbian model.
For example, after some publicity around the issue, marriage advocates from Australian Marriage Equality (AME) and the Greens recently game out strongly against the idea of polyamorous marriage. In commenting on the position, Alex Greenwich said AME’s concept of marriage was of “two people who rely on each other in a relationship to the exclusion of all others”.
Copland, a powerbroker in the Greensparty, is unhappy that the issue has been hijacked by what he sees as privileged and conservative forces within the gay community who are collaborating with “heteropatriarchy”.
These two examples are part on an ongoing problem with the queer movement where people who don’t fit into the mainstream queer mould are being excluded from the debate, with claims that they are ruining our chances to reach equality. They are the victims of all-consuming campaigns around issues such as same-sex marriage.
What’s happened? The institutional queer movement has become dominated by upper to middle class wealthy queer activists, who have populated organisations and put significant money behind the movement. The struggles that face this group are very different from those of other people.
The powerful Greensparty ACT convenor continued, arguing that the gay community and Greensparty ought not leave the polyamorous behind:
And that is what we are now seeing by the mainstream queer movement. Those in the minority (based on wealth and influence) of the movement are being pushed aside as the wealthy middle class fights for its acceptance into the heteropatriarchy and for equality.
People are told they need to conform to ‘family values’ and we begin to try and hide the ‘scary queers’ who may harm the rest of the movement.
As we do this, we lose the idea of liberation, and create a world where instead of one acceptable label (heterosexuality) we now may have two, if we are lucky (heterosexuality and homosexuality).
As the queer movement continues, it seems as though we are losing everything that is worth fighting for. I feel ashamed every time I see a mainstream queer activist tell me that someone isn’t part of our movement, or that their choice and the labels they place on themselves are not acceptable.
CALLING OUT GREENSPARTY INCONSISTENCY
The Greensparty rising star, convenor of their Sydney University franchise and founder of PAL, Brigitte Garozzo/McFadden is also calling out current party leaders on the inconsistency of their position on marriage equality:
“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.
She strongly disagreed with the argument more conservative Greensparty figures put that Saudi or Utah style big love marriages dominated by a rich or powerful bloke could arise under legalised polyamory:
“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.”