Less than 18 months ago, Sasha Lessin and Janet Kira Lessin gathered before their friends near their home in Maui, and proclaimed their love for one another. Nothing unusual about that—Sasha, 68, and Janet, 55—were legally married in 2000. Rather, this public commitment ceremony was designed to also bind them to Shivaya, their new 60-something "husband." Says Sasha: “I want to walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand and live together openly and proclaim our relationship. But also to have all those survivor and visitation rights and tax breaks and everything like that.”Before folks attack this post as "out there" or polyamory as "fringe," don't forget my earlier post, "From Gay Marriage to Polygamy."
Maine this week became the fifth state, and the fourth in New England, to legalize gay marriage, provoking yet another national debate about same-sex unions. The Lessins' advocacy group, the Maui-based World Polyamory Association, is pushing for the next frontier of less-traditional codified relationships. This community has even come up with a name for what the rest of the world generally would call a committed threesome: the "triad."
Unlike open marriages and the swinger days of the 1960s and 1970s, these unions are not about sex with multiple outside partners. Nor are they relationships where one person is involved with two others, who are not involved with each other, a la actress Tilda Swinton. That's closer to bigamy. Instead, triads—"triangular triads," to use precise polyamorous jargon—demand that all three parties have full relationships, including sexual, with each other. In the Lessins case, that can be varying pairs but, as Sasha, a psychologist, puts it, "Janet loves it when she gets a double decker." In a triad, there would be no doubt in Elizabeth Edwards’ mind whether her husband fathered a baby out of wedlock; she likely would have participated in it.
UPDATE: Check out also, Fausta's Blog, "Polyamory: What are you, nuts??"