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B.C. judge upholds polygamy ban

Supreme Court says law shouldn’t criminalize minors


 

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Canada’s polygamy laws, adding that minors in polygamous marriages shouldn’t face prosecution as a result of this law, the CBC reports. Chief Justice Robert Bauman ruled in favour of a section of the Criminal Code barring polygamous unions after 42 days of legal arguments on the constitutionality of this section of the code. B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond called it a “landmark” ruling, but opponents said it went against freedom of religion and freedom of association guaranteed in the charter.

CBC


 
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B.C. judge upholds polygamy ban

  1. If ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, so is banning polygamy. But of course, polygamists don’t have the same lobbying power as the gay lobby. But it is certainly unjust!

    No, I am not in favour of redefining marriage either way. But I guess the ‘gay-religion’ is a better religion than Mormonism.     

    • Absolute nonsense.  First, the issue at hand in the polygamy case is a criminal issue.  The issue at play in the same sex marriage cases was a constitutional issue.  They’re not even remotely close.  The legal question in the polygamy case is whether or not the section of the criminal code that bars having a “marriage-like relationship” with more than one person is unconstitutional.  (If you’ve ever had an affair, you’re just as big a polygamist under Canadian law as the people in Bountiful, B.C.   Just so you know.  That’s about half the population.)  The issue of same sex marriage hinged on whether it violated gay people’s constitutional equality rights to deny them marriage rights.   As for the assertion that constitutional equality for gay relationships leads to constitutional equality for polygamous relationships, again, that’s nonsense.  The gay marriage case was successful because courts had already ruled that gay people were protected from discrimination by the constitution. And courts have a determined that the essential characteristics of a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. are also protected under equality laws.  So courts had ample grounds to rule that discriminating against gay marriage amounted to discriminating against gays.  But since polygamy is not an essential characteristic of any minority group protected from discrimination by the constitution, polygamists don’t have a hope of gaining state recognition for polygamous marriage.  And even if they could, courts would likely rule it was contrary to section 1 of the Charter of Rights because of the financial burden it would place on society.  But anyway, enjoy your hysteria.   

  2. [EDIT: the following is supposed to be a reply to Newsreader60 but Disqus posted it as a main entry and oddly wouldn’t let me use the @ feature with his/her name in edit mode]
    ______________________________________________________________________

    There is a distinct difference between the two.
     
    With gay marriages, we are still talking about a union between two people; the only change required to any laws is to eliminate the need for each partner to be of a different sex.
     
    With polygamous marriages, the scope of changes required across the entire legal landscape in order to preserve the rights of all parties would be enormous – as would the financial cost to society to implement these changes.
     
    As to constitutionality, the article linked to the synopsis above says in the third para:
     
    “In his ruling Bauman said while the law does infringe on religious freedom, it is justified given the harm polygamy causes to children, women and society.” (I’m sure this will be one of the interpretations that will serve as the basis for appeal, but I agree with the judge.)
     
    I would also argue that, given the nature of most religion-based polygamous marriages, where only males are allowed multiple spouses, that it would contravene s. 28 of the Charter, which reads:
     
    28. Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons. (My emphasis)
     
    As to your “the ‘gay-religion’ is a better religion than Mormonism” comment, the Mormons abandoned polygamy a century ago; these offshoots are minor cults, not the mainstream faith. I’d also like some sort of explanation as to what “gay religion” is supposed to mean.

    I could go on, but I have things I need to do…
     
    In short, the argument that gay marriages and polygamous marriages involve the same issues and should therefore be treated the same is, at best, naive.

    • You are splitting hair with your comments, to squeeze out
      your desired conclusion.. If you think about it, polygamous marriage has a much
      stronger tradition inhuman history than gay ‘marriage’. Therefore, the
      reinterpretation of the Charter by a bunch of lawyers, without any input or
      debate by anyone else, redefined the foundation of marriage, which since the
      dawn of humanity consisted of a male-female relationship for the procreation
      and rearing of offspring and the mutual support of spouses.

       

      If you are trying to tell me that it is a bigger change to
      the definition of marriage to include more than one ‘spouse’ than to exclude the
      other sex, which also excludes the procreation of children without outside
      (third-party) help, than you are extremely biased.

      • I don’t think there’s any evidence whatsoever that polygamy in itself does harm to children, women, or society.  Now, religions and cultures forcing marriages onto people without their informed consent.. that’s a different matter.

        But your arguments seem to have a lot more weight for making various religions illegal rather than polygamy.

        • Just clarifying your statement….are you saying that the underaged “child brides” married off to the creepy middle-aged men aren’t in anyway harmed and have given “informed consent”?  Just asking.

          • How the hell is that clarifying when I haven’t even implied that in any manner?  That’s like me saying, “Just clarifying, but are you saying that you torture children for middle-aged men?”

            The only way you could even get that inferrence is if you’re reading level is slightly below that of a three-year ol… oh. 

            No. I’m not saying that. But good for you for figuring out some of the big words.

          • You said “there’s no evidence whatsoever that polygamy in itself causes any harm to children, women…”  Now, I gave you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you had reading skills and would see that the supreme court had a reason for pointing out that the law banning polygamy would not “criminalize minors”.   Hello…why would the court have to point that out except that many of the brides are minors….

          • Do you have any clue what the word “harm” means?

            And of course it doesn’t criminalize children, because they can’t give informed consent in the first place.

      • If I’m reading you correctly, your real issue is that you are anti-gay.

        As to religion and tradition, honour killings are part of some religious traditions; are you arguing we shouldn’t prosecute them on the basis of religious freedom?

        Consider my earlier point about s. 28 of the Charter. Now picture a couple who each decide they want more spouses, so they take two more each. Now they want to divorce. Under current law, marital property gets split 50/50. But in a situation like theirs, how do property issues get resolved? How can you split their assets 50/50 when the other spouses also have claims? Or in a more “traditional” polygamous relationship, when the husband takes on a second partner he is either devaluing the property shares of the first wife or requiring the second wife to relenquish any claim. Etc.

        And these basic questions around marital property are just the tip of the iceberg where changes in laws are concerned. Pretty much any law that impinges on families would require major overhauls. A huge upheaval at great expense for what is a much smaller a percentage of the population than the gay community – as opposed to the minimal changes required to implement gay marriage rights. That’s in part why I say the legal issues are far different for legalized polygamy than for gay mariages.

        That’s one mighty big hair; might take more than your average axe to split it.

  3. You are splitting hair with your comments, to squeeze out
    your desired conclusion.. If you think about it, polygamous marriage has a much
    stronger tradition inhuman history than gay ‘marriage’. Therefore, the
    reinterpretation of the Charter by a bunch of lawyers, without any input or
    debate by anyone else, redefined the foundation of marriage, which since the
    dawn of humanity consisted of a male-female relationship for the procreation
    and rearing of offspring and the mutual support of spouses.

     

    If you are trying to tell me that it is a bigger change to
    the definition of marriage to include more than one ‘spouse’ than to exclude the
    other sex, which also excludes the procreation of children without outside
    (third-party) help, than you are extremely biased.

  4. This is good we should not have to support religions that blatantly exploit women and minors in such a widespread fashion.

    • Hint: Polygamy isn’t a relgion.

  5. KeithBram raised the critical point. Religious freedom is fine so long as it doesn’t encourage or permit behavior that is against our laws. It shouldn’t matter what religion we are discussing. Canada made a concious choice long ago to create a separation between church and state. Worship any way you like (or not) but if it goes against the laws of the land you are a criminal and should be treated as such.

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