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Nov 30, 2018

Modern Families: Understanding Polyamorous Relationships and their Judicial Recognition

By Adam N. Black
STEP Journal, November 2018, Volume 26, Issue 9

In recent times, the concept of family has experienced tremendous change. From the recognition of same-sex marriage to amendments to adoption laws designed to recognise nuances of familial structure, the definition of family today undoubtedly captures a much broader set of relationships than the rigid dyadic definition of days gone by.

Polyamory is the newest dimension to make its way into the modern family. Underscoring the broad range of relationships that can exist within the four corners of polyamory, John-Paul Boyd describes polyamorous people as those who:
‘… are, or prefer to be, involved in more than one intimate relationship at a time. Some polyamorists are involved in stable, long-term, loving relationships involving two or more other people. Others are simultaneously engaged in a number of relationships of varying degrees of permanence and commitment. Still others are involved in a web of concurrent relationships ranging from short-term relationships that are purely sexual in nature to more enduring relationships characterized by deep emotional attachments.’

The prevalence of polyamorous relationships in North America may come as a surprise to many. According to the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, there are approximately 1,100 polyamorous families in Canada.2 Researchers have suggested that the number of polyamorous families in the US could be as high as 500,000.

This article was originally published in STEP Journal, November 2018, Volume 26, Issue 9. To read the complete article, please click here