Thank you for your words dakid. Though the areas in which we live may be very different, it does give some hope that each case may be judged on its own merits.
As far as attorneys go, I had the good fortune to meet and chat a bit with Diana Adams at the last PolyLiving conference. She was intrigued with my situation, since most of the sexual civil rights cases she handles involve grandparents attempting to remove children from their parents, not the other way around and she told me to call if ever the word polyamory was used in a proceeding against me. She's a very good ally to have on one's side
That said, it is still a very real fear. And while I agree that removing the prejudices surrounding alternative lifestyles is the long term goal, once again my reality is that I and my grandchildren can't wait for that to occur.
Changing minds and hearts and removing prejudices is a generational task.
Very few people open up to changing their core beliefs (no matter how illogical they may be) by being confronted and challenged in a manner which puts them on the defensive. Once most people feel attacked, their response is to put up defenses which rarely allow for even the most logical of arguments to be truly heard.
Trying to tailor a definition to be more acceptable to mainstream society never really gets very far because it doesn't actually address the underlying prejudice it's trying to negate. This has been seen in the battle many gay people have already fought for more legal rights. None of these rights were gained by trying to create a definition of being gay that excludes the "less desirable" elements.
There are gay people who live in long term settled domestic relationships.
There are gay people who go clubbing and take a new person home every night.
None of these things have to do with the definition of being gay.
The fact that gay people have made advances with legal rights in society isn't because people decided to come up with a clear and concise definition that included one aspect but not the other in order to make it more acceptable to society. If the gay rights activists had tried that, none of the actual prejudices and myths that society holds about being gay would have been addressed and society would take longer to move forward into actual acceptance.
Someone here on another thread recently (and I thought it was Ceoli but can't remember enough about the beginnings of the thread to search it) mentioned that the gay rights movement had actually marginalized the more flamboyant members in their quest for mainstream acceptance. The tactic taken was to highlight the similarities between monogamous heterosexual couples and monogamous homosexual couples and others who didn't fit that model were edged out as the movement progressed. At least that's the way I remember the comment being presented. So there seems to be a dichotomy in perception here that confuses me?
I believe that as human beings we are far more alike than we are different.
But I also believe that the way to achieve meeting the mainstream half way isn't by pointing out the most different members of our community and trying to show how similar they are but by pointing out the most similar members and then expanding outward.
At this moment in time, it's a matter of what works in this existing world, not what the ideal world would look like to me. In my ideal world, no one would actually care how anyone else loved, other than as perhaps a way to expand their own horizons.
Working towards creating that is a long term goal; working towards protecting those who love differently than the current norm until the ideal is achieved is the short term goal.
It may take different tactics to reach both goals.
Someone else mentioned research into children raised in polyfamilies, hopefully to garner support for the idea that there is no inherent detriment to them. My understanding is that such research is currently beginning, though I'd have to dig through another site to remember the details.
It is a known issue among people who are poly activists - we need to have the research to back us up when we take on the status quo.
There are other groups who are funding research and publishing papers and informational brochures for professionals such as social workers, educators, psychiatric practioners etc. in an attempt to educate the very people who might be called upon to determine whether the children in my home are at risk simply because my boyfriend has another girlfriend.
What I'd like to see in terms of legislation at this point in time is simple.
Any agency charged with determining the suitability of a particular home for children should not be basing their recommendation in any way on the parent/guardian's sex life, unless of course that sex life includes abuse of the children, which to my way of thinking is a totally separate issue.