Every group, no matter how it defines itself, has a couple of elements that they don't consider it polite to talk to an 'outsider' about. Generally these are quirks, foibles or inclinations which set them apart from what is perceived as the 'norm' in society, and which has often been used as a way for that group to be attacked.
For example, Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the very best bloggers out there, has often written movingly about the conflicts within the larger American black community and the difficulty of airing those conflicts, which encapsulate class, race and gender, in the glare of the disapproval or bigotry of the white population.
For the gay community, one of those 'unmentionables' is monogamy, specifically (and I am probably laying myself open to all sorts of biases here) gay male monogamy. It's no secret that one of the claims that gets thrown round about gay men all the time is that they are incapable of forming deep, emotional bonds with one another – that their relationships are based on nothing but sweaty sinful fucking and therefore they don't deserve the respect that 'normal' straight couples are accorded. Marriage is too 'sacred', even in its civil state, to be sullied with the association of a little groom on groom action.
The thing is, there is a much wider and more accepting attitude towards open relationships in the gay community. I think this is a healthy thing – the open relationships that I know of tend to be stronger, more trusting and more likely to last then the closed ones. I realise that this is not a hard and fast rule, but I think that many straight relationships would benefit from being more honest about their desires. I think a good open relationships forces all parties to be more honest about their emotions and desires.
Remember, I said that a 'good' open relationship works that way. By good, I mean one that is based on trust, respect, decent communication and love. It can help to remove the pressure that sex can often create between two people and allow something deeper to develop.
Clearly though, this isn't for everybody, or even for most people. The idea of a one true love that you can share your physical and emotional life with is too ingrained in our culture. The disapproval and even disgust that these couples will inevitably encounter if they 'come out' as being in an open relationship will also be painful.
The prevalence of couples who sleep with people outside the relationship or marriage within the gay community is not something that we like to talk about in polite society. That's because so many of the fights that we are currently engaged in come down to trying to pass as 'normal', And normal in this case isn't exactly normal within the gay community (which would mean acknowledging a more diverse ran ge of relationship options) but normal as prescribed by the more conservative straight elements in society. There are a lot of people within the gay community who believe that the fight for marriage equality is a sad attempt to ape a tradition which is based to some degree on oppression.
I think this is blinkered view but it gets at the complexities that the marriage debate throws up within the gay community, complexities which many straight people either wouldn't understand or would use against all gay people in an attempt to deny them equal civil rights. So we like to keep these debates on the down low and pretend that we really are the same. When I honestly don't think that we are, at least not at this stage. The legacy of the closet overshadows everything.
This was prompted by a post at Box Turtle Bulletin about a piece of research which was reported as proving the existence of widespread open relationships amongst gay people (not a total shock) snd which was picked up by the religious right and used to demonise all gay couples and argue against gay marriage (also not a shock). So this will once again mean that the debates will go underground, 'just between friends', and it poisons the well for promoting more honest dialogue which could also help straight couples.
This post had a point – good luck finding it