BBC World: "Polyamorous marriage: Is there a future for three-way weddings?"
The gay triad who registered as a family in Colombia last month continue to be very out, proud, and photogenic — prompting BBC World News to publish a long article today, with video, not just about them but other polyfamilies who have come out.
The BBC has treated poly well and reported on its significance before; for instance, Polyamorous Relationships May Be the Future of Love (June 23, 2016).
Polyamorous marriage: Is there a future for three-way weddings?
By Jasmine Taylor-Coleman
A so-called "throuple" in Colombia have been hailed as having the first legal union between three men in the world. So will we see three-way marriages in the future?
"Victor tells the bad jokes," says Manuel.
"Very bad," agrees his partner Alejandro.
"I tell the smart ones," says Manuel.
Manuel José Bermúdez Andrade, Víctor Hugo Prada and Alejandro Rodríguez are all in a relationship together. They used to be four but their boyfriend Alex Esnéider Zabala died in 2014.
"The decision to marry was there before Alex died, the four of us wanted to get married," says Víctor.
"Alex's cancer changed our plans. But I never gave up."
When Alex died, the remaining three, who live in the Colombian city of Medellín, say they had to fight to be seen as his partners and get access to his pension.
Alex Esnéider Zabala was in the relationship for eight years before he died in 2014.
It made them all the more determined to get legal recognition of their relationship.
They are now planning their long-awaited wedding ceremony after a supportive lawyer signed a special legal document last month. ...
The paperwork formalises their union, but it is not a full marriage certificate. Like in most countries — except those that accept polygamy — it is illegal to marry more than one person in Colombia.
But Alejandro, Manuel and Víctor's legal success is a big step forward in a world where group marriage has been firmly off the agenda.
Could cases like theirs signal the start of a concerted effort by campaigners to allow it?
"The movement is absolutely going to develop if the activists so choose," says Hadar Aviram, a professor of law at University of California in the US.
How does a polyamorous relationship between four people work?
Prof Aviram said she found little appetite for marriage among polyamorous groups when she first started her research in 2004 but she began to see a change around 2012.
A study by the US-based organisation Loving More the same year found that 65.9% of more than 4,000 polyamorous people said would want to marry multiple people if such marriages were legal.
...Prof Aviram believes changing attitudes may be due to wider acceptance of same-sex marriage around the world, making way for new taboos to be broken.
...Legal marriage may still seem a distant prospect but cases like that in Colombia are giving hope to others in three-way relationships.
"It's really encouraging," says DeAnna Rivas, a married mother of two from Florida.
The 28-year-old suggested to her husband, Manny, that they start experimenting with another woman in 2014. "I grew up having crushes on both men and women," she says. ... "When we met Melissa it just felt right."
DeAnna, an art teacher, now lives with both Manny and 20-year-old Melissa James; they share incomes, childcare and household duties, and a bed.
The family find it helpful to have three incomes but the best thing is the "amount of love in our home", Manny says.
Melissa, Danny, and DeAnna. Their kids Vaneza and Gabriel "love having two moms", according to DeAnna.
Manny, 30, says some people are upset by the relationship a previous employer even threatened to sack him as a result but others are intrigued. ... "When I say it was more my wife's idea than mine, then people get more understanding."
The trio admit they have all struggled with jealousy but they have learned to be more open with each other.
They are now planning a wedding ceremony for June 2020. ... Manny and DeAnna are giving Melissa guardianship of their two children, who already call her "Mamma MJ". Melissa is also planning to change her name to Rivas.
Without marriage rights, though, people even in the most committed polyamorous relationships do not have access to the same legal and tax benefits as married couples. ...
'There's nothing wrong with it'
The idea has provoked backlash, including in deeply Catholic Colombia where there are calls for the Medellin lawyer to be investigated.
...Many people in polyamorous relationships are also sceptical themselves; they may have no desire to go public or embrace traditional family models, says Prof Aviram. "People don't necessarily want to resemble the mainstream," she says. ...
The whole article, with video (July 21, 2017).
Update next day: Big, positive feature story on the NBC News website: Meet Colombia’s First Legally Recognized ‘Throuple’.