James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looking Beyond Marriage

The Ninth Circuit Court has now heard the arguments from attorneys on both sides of the proposition 8, same-sex marriage debate and we await their decision as to legal standing and constitutional scruting as to how broad the scope of those rights should be. Click here for a legal analysis of the current deliberations. While we are in legal limbo, these book choices look past the tired old system of monogamyand the nuclear family to the possibility of other options.

The first book, "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law," by Nancy D. Polikoff, a law professor is a brief history of the legal transformations and paramutations marriage and family law has undergone. It also is an analysis of how far it still needs to go when it comes to broadening and expanding the definitions of marriage and family. She deals with the changes radical feminism has wrought from caring fatherhood to the death of the concept of the "illegitimacy" of children. Hospital visitation and lawsuits for wrongful death by queer partners are also explored. Click here for an interview with Nancy Polikoff and here for some of her more recent articles on LGBT community issues.

Once the legal issues are squared away, we can move on to "The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures," by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. This, more social perspective is by a marriage and family therapist and a creative writer. In this updated reissue of an old classic, the authors embrace and expand on the term "slut," a derogatory, sexist term for a woman. They posit the male equivalent as "stud."

Anyone can be an ethical slut in thier view; the key to non-monogamy and polyamory in their view is honesty. Their chapters deal with flirting and cruising, overcoming jealousy, healty sex, childrearing, making an agreement and dealing with conflict. This book is not gay or straight but rather more fluid and permeable in its definitions of sexual identity. Click here for an interview with Dossie Easton about this book.

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