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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

License and Poly card please.

A while back I wrote an article explaining why I often don't use my real name for writing blogs. Sensitive topics, personal security, social discrimination, and more that I don't need to rehash here again. While discussing that article recently I heard a comment I found interesting. A friend said, "I could lose my license for being Poly".
I didn't argue since I don't have much experience with professional licenses. I did ask a few questions though. Basically what I was hearing is that licenses, such as the different types issued for massage and counseling, could be revoked is a person was found to be polyamorous.

I decided to do a bit of research and see what I could find on the subject. Being in Colorado I focused on the laws of that state. Looking at the laws governing massage therapy licensing from the Department Of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) I couldn't find anything regarding sexual orientation or lifestyle in sections pertaining to licensing, revoking a license, or penalties. In short, it appears that unless or until you are convicted of a crime, are unqualified, mentally deficient, or refuse to pay the licensing fees you can get a massage license.
Link to the DORA web page regarding massage therapy:

I did a bit of reading about other states and counties and interestingly enough I did find some areas where the statutes/laws/guidelines mention moral turpitude as cause for license denial or revocation though most also tie it to a court conviction. Several of those same areas include the verbiage "for any cause" under sections regarding license denial or revocation. Obviously "for any cause" would likely provide a way of revoking a license regardless or inclusive of morality.

Moral turpitude is about as close as I could get to tying Polyamory to the denial or revocation of a professional license. Investigating the definition of "moral turpitude" a bit further I found a lot of courts refuse to define the term. Many that do use "depravity" or "actions of depravity" in their definition of moral turpitude. Many of the cases I found that resulted in removal of a professional license, with 320 F. 3d 1119 - Ballard v. Independent School District No of Bryan County al We being the most famous, dealt with physical threats, harm, and drunk driving more than lifestyle.

Now for the disclaimer. I focused on massage therapy here because it seems most of the licenses held in the poly community in which I travel are for massage therapy. I also focused on Colorado law which in no way is representative of anywhere but Colorado. I also fully realize I haven't addressed other licenses, accreditations, or educational awards such as a diploma or degree.

Based on what I have found my conclusion is two-fold;
1. Legally I seriously doubt many common licenses could be revoked simply because a person was Polyamorous. Does that mean it couldn't be revoked? Of course not. Simply that were a license revoked because someone lived a polyamorous lifestyle and they decided to challenge the revocation in court they would have a good chance at reinstatement.
2. If they want you gone they will find a way to get rid of you. They may find other reasons to revoke a license or you may realize you were somehow "blackballed" causing your license to be worthless for earning income but the bottom line; if they want you gone they will find a way to get rid of you.

An interesting by-product of my research was finding that most of the above results hold true for the concern by parents in a divorce that "outing" themselves as poly will result in their loss of child custody. But that's another article.

Have you had any experience with the loss of a professional license due to being polyamorous? Do you hold a license and does being poly make you concerned you could lose your license? I would also be interested in any specific, citable cases or examples of license revocation or loss of custody due to polyamory. Do you think my research is accurate or not? Let me know your thoughts!!

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