David Frum

Gays Against Polyamory

05.30.12 3:05 PM ET

Some members of the Australian Green Party believe that their party platform to support 'marriage for all' means that the party must support polyamorous marriage. Guess who disagrees? Gay marriage advocates:

The entry of polyamorists - and non-polyamorist supporters of polyamorous marriage - to the gay marriage debate appears to have alarmed same sex marriage campaigners, some of whom approached The Australian to express their view.

Alex Greenwich, the national convener of Australian Marriage Equality, told The Australian that his lobby group's concept of marriage was "what it's always been" of "two people who rely on each other in a relationship to the exclusion of all others".

The only difference in his group's view, he said, was that marriage was between two men, or two women. (Mr Greenwich quickly corrected this statement, saying marriage could also be between a man and a woman.)

Mr Greenwich married his male partner in Argentina.

Asked if he felt that polyamorous marriage would devalue the worth of his gay monogamous marriage, Mr Greenwich said: "I will not support three people in a marriage at all."

Mr Greenwich also said he was "totally against" polygamy, which he described as providing "disproportionate authority" for one male.

In 1989, Andrew Sullivan predicted this sort of attitude would come when the franchise to marriage was expanded to same-sex couples:

Of course, some would claim that any legal recognition of homosexuality is a de facto attack upon heterosexuality. But even the most hardened conservatives recognize that gays are a permanent minority and aren't likely to go away. Since persecution is not an option in a civilized society, why not coax gays into traditional values rather than rain incoherently against them?

There's a less elaborate argument for gay marriage: it's good for gays. It provides role models for young gay people who, after the exhilaration of coming out, can easily lapse into short-term relationships and insecurity with no tangible goal in sight. My own guess is that most gays would embrace such a goal with as much (if not more) commitment as straights.