An Alternative to Monogamy

New York Times, Aug. 17, 2002

The Unitarian Universalist Association may soon be asked about a boundary problem. Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness (U.U.P.A.) are coming out, “hoping to take their place beside the divorced, the intentionally single, gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people as fully accepted people,” according to a report of a June 22 workshop at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly held in Quebec.

The group defines polyamory, the report says, as “the philosophy and practice of loving or relating intimately to more than one person at a time with honesty and integrity.”

The group is quick to distinguish polyamory from “swinging” or “cheating.” Polyamory “involves intentional open long-term loving relationships,” not recreational or covert sexual activity. U.U.P.A. speakers at the workshop left open whether polyamory was “a choice or a genetic predilection,” the report said, but they urged that being “openly polyamorous” should be as accepted as being openly gay and not subjected to prejudicial “labels such as `adulterer.’ “

So far, the group is only “related” to the Unitarian Universalist Association and not a formal “affiliate,” a status that would require a vote by the association’s board.

“The board would have a lot of questions about how their agenda fits with the values and principles of the organization,” said Janet Hayes, the Unitarian Universalists’ public information officer. She called the group “cutting-edge in the sense that its time has not yet come — but I wouldn’t want to say it won’t.”

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