You might think that this is grotesque. I certainly think it is grotesque. But should we be so judgemental about the unorthodox connubial arrangements of Anna and Lucy Decinque, 31-year-old identical twins who are sharing a bed with their 32-year-old electrical mechanic boyfriend Ben Byrne?
The trio have lived together for the last four years in Perth, Western Australia, with the girls’ mother.
The girls are inseparable, so much so that they have spent A$240,000 on various cosmetic improvements to look even more alike. They imitate each other and share everything. Even their boyfriend.
When Anna and Lucy appeared on the SBS current affairs program Insight last week, they announced that they wanted to become pregnant at the same time, even if one or the other had to use IVF. “[We] just have to be pregnant at the same time,” one said. “Yeah, we just want to be the same in everything,” the other chimed in.
Relationships with separate boyfriends had always failed, they said, “because we’re with each other 24/7, every single day, every minute of our life together”. So Ben treats them equally and they form a happy family.
So the question is: if the Australian Marriage Act is amended to allow homosexuals to marry, why can’t Anna, Lucy and Ben have their sincere love and tested commitment for each other recognised? It seems outrageously unfair to leave them unhitched and unhappy. After all, unless their polyamorous love is recognised by the majesty of the law, they will always be regarded as a freak show.
To a certain extent, still untested in the courts, they already are a de facto thruple. They have been living in a “marriage-like relationship” for more than two years, which is the condition for constituting a de facto couple in Western Australia. Ordinarily, a third woman (or man) in such a relationship would enter it later and the law would probably insist that only the original pair possesses the rights arising from a de facto relationship.
But because the Decinque twins have insisted on doing everything together, their relationships with Ben began simultaneously. It seems unfair that only one of them can have access to property, government benefits or care of children in the event of death or a relationship breakdown. Surely authentic equality means giving even this peculiar ménage a trois an opportunity to get married.
The bigwigs of the marriage equality movement in Australia say that they are absolutely — cross their hearts and hope to die — opposed to everything poly except Polynesia. But isn’t it time that they woke up to the reality of diverse family structures in Australia today? Surley the lived experience of Anna, Lucy and Ben suggests that society needs to move beyond the antiquated dyadic hegemony they are promoting in their campaign for same-sex marriage.
A grotesque prospect? I agree. But that is the inexorable logic of the push for same-sex marriage. If all love is equal, why not polyamory?
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.