This is my monthly column about our life, life in a triad in general, or whatever rants & raves I feel like talking about at the time.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Rules Are Made To Be...Interpreted

A Pediatrician in Maryland was recently convicted of the molestation of a 10 year old girl. He did no more than 90 days in jail and was allowed to keep his license to practice. The logic behind this decision? The child he had molested was not a patient of his, and so apparently he did not pose a threat to those children entrusted to him. The rules of the society we live in allowed this decision to not only be made, but upheld.

Earlier this year, a woman wrote about her run-in with her state’s child protection agency. Apparently a “concerned citizen” made an eight-point allegation against them. Only one of the allegations was true: that Cyn and her partner were polyamorous, and had dated another couple within the past six months. Fortunately for Cyn, after a meeting and a home visit, the case worker dismissed the allegations as unfounded. Cyn breathed a sigh of relief that their lifestyle wasn’t used as justification for removing their kids.

Despite the fact that the traditional definition of the term "mainstream" is slowly being reworked, some parts of society still have huge issues with anything non-mainstream.

A judge in Indianapolis recently included, as part of a Wiccan couple's divorce decree, the unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." This is disturbing in it's own right, but what's even more disturbing is the fact that the order does not define a "mainstream" religion.

Once in awhile there are victories in this battle for redefining the "mainstream". Recently a Federal Judge in Nebraska struck down that state's ban on gay marriage, saying the measure interferes not only with the rights of gay couples but also with those of foster parents, adopted children and people in a host of other living arrangements.

So therein lies the frightening part of this whole "mainstream" issue. What is it about the laws of society that allow them to be interpreted so radically different? Are the laws actually being interpreted here, or are these judges simply given the freedom to decide as they see fit? This brings me to the heart of this particular rant. What if the predjudicial beliefs of the "professional" in charge of each particular issue are the deciding factors? I'm no professional. I possess no piece of paper that makes me an "expert" in anything. I simply try to look at all issues objectively and with an open mind. Some folks who do possess those pieces of paper aren't so open minded though. Our very own PolyAnna recently had a run in with a dermatologist who essentially refused medical attention because the polyamorous nature of their family relationship became known to her. (You can read her post in it's entirety on our forums.) Thankfully this was a dermatologist and not a heart surgeon. Am I being overly dramatic here? I'm not entirely sure I am. Given the fact that these "professionals" seem to have a wide spectrum of interpretation of societies rules, I think a little fear is in order. The problem used to be that folks in need of medical attention who didn't have health insurance were in danger of being refused medical attention because of this. Thankfully that issue has been resolved in most states in this country; you might end up in debt for a long time, or destroy your credit, but you at least can rest easy knowing that you won't die because you have no insurance.

Now however, we apparently are facing an equally scary problem. What if doctors start refusing treatment to folks based on religion, sexual preferences, relationship styles, etc? Your doctor can shake your hand, look you in the eye, and tell you to find another doctor and you can't do anything about it. Then imagine an online database of people who live non "mainstream" lifestyles. Your Social Security Number is the flag that pulls up all the information that these "professionals" choose to share with each other. There's currently a database online of poly friendly professionals, so why is this concept so hard to imagine? Does this sound abit Orwellian? Maybe so, but the question that should be asked is, is it justified?

~ Chias, July 31, 2005


folks have read this article.