Polyamorists Battle for Legal Recognition in Canada

Polyamorists march at the Vancouver Pride Parade. (Robert Ashworth / Creative Commons)

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A group of polyamorists says they want the same legal status as other relationships, following the group’s first national convention in Canada.

Polyamory involves intimate relationships between three or more people at the same time.

Canada redefined marriage in 2005 and saw a major legal case involving polygamy in 2011.

The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association intervened in the case and now says it wants to see polyamorous relationships treated on the same legal footing as others.

The association’s director, Zoe Duff, says she would like to see “households where our spouses are equal under the law, and moving forward in terms of pensions, and inheritances and property division.”

The group defines polyamory as having “more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.”

The group says they “live all gender combinations” and are “queer-friendly.”

One panelist at the convention says she took home two partners to a family event last year and claimed that polyamory is a viable alternative to monogamy.

In October last year in Canada, a poster that promoted polygamy caused controversy when it appeared in schools. The poster declares “Love has no gender” and shows a variety of relationships, including an image of one man and two women, and two men and one woman.

At the time, the Toronto School Board faced criticism for using the image.

Writer Daphne Bramham says, “But by being so stupid and so blind how the image reads to most people, the Toronto School Board appears to be promoting a practice that leads almost invariably not only to the sexual exploitation of girls, the expulsion of boys, but poor educational and health outcomes.

“At very least it needs to recall all of the posters and stickers that have been distributed and take it off its own website.”

A spokesman from the board says it “does not support polygamy” and adds, “The images in question were meant to support an individual’s right to choose whom they love, regardless of gender.”

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