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All polygamy harmful, lawyer tells court

All polygamy harmful, lawyer tells court

Closing arguments begin in polygamy hearing
The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association's (CPAA) argument that only harmful polygamy should be banned was the best suggestion put before the court, a government lawyer told the BC Supreme Court on March 29, as closing arguments began in the landmark hearings.

Craig Jones, a lawyer for the BC attorney general arguing that polygamy should remain criminal, told Chief Justice Robert Bauman that the CPAA had argued other forms of polygamy should be allowed.

The polyamorists say the Criminal Code’s prohibition on polygamy — including any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time — infringes on their constitutional rights of association, religion, equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, Jones maintained the whole CPAA argument should ultimately be dismissed because all forms of polygamy are inherently harmful. Jones took aim at the BC Civil Liberties Association argument that the law denies the rights of consenting adults who find fulfillment in plural relationships.

He said the civil liberties group was correct when it argued in favour of same-sex marriage, saying that there was no demonstrable harm to people or society through the legalization of gay marriage. But in this case, the BCCLA is wrong, Jones said.

"Polygamy hurts people," he said, citing allegations of sexual abuse and child brides being smuggled across borders to marry middle-aged men. "A polygamous society consumes its young," Jones told the court. "People are harmed by polygamy."

George Macintosh is tasked with the job of arguing on behalf of those who oppose the criminalization of polygamy. He told Bauman on Nov 24 that the law currently "encompasses polygamy, it encompasses polyandry and it encompasses polyamory."

"The law ignores casual group sex, but it criminalizes relationships," Macintosh said.

CPAA lawyer John Ince earlier told Bauman that Section 293 of the Criminal Code "is contrary to the Charter and the deepest moral values of Canadians." He argued that the focus of the law is on patriarchal polygyny, where a man has two or more wives simultaneously.

At the case's centre is BC's fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful near Creston, where men have multiple wives.

The constitutional examination of the law was ordered after polygamy charges against competing Bountiful bishops, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), were arrested in early 2009. Charges against Winston Blackmore and James Oler were dropped several months later when a judge found BC's then-attorney general, Wally Oppal, had gone prosecutor shopping to lay charges.

Police alleged Blackmore has at least 19 wives and more than 100 children. Oler was accused of having three wives. The men maintain their polygamous practices are covered by Canada's protection of freedom of religion.

Jones maintained the "regressive character of polygamous society is incompatible with individual liberty."

Closing arguments are expected to continue through the end of April.



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Comments

Over generalising harms this debate
I have a group of three male friends who have been in a committed polyamorous relationship for decades. They are equals in the relationship and it is entirely unabusive.

None of the objections cited by anyone here are relevant to their relationship, so why is the distinction not made? Over-generalisation does nothing but harm this debate.
Poly-whatever it's all the same
Jones is right, all of the harmful effects mentioned by Jones are polygamy, you can not distinguish the ''effects'' because they are a direct result of the practice. Which in itself inevitably leads to patriarchal abuse.
Gender/Sex Equality in All Legal Marriages
I support gay marriage because I believe the state has no business telling two individuals that one of them must be biologically male and the other female.

If men and women were truly equal before the law then it wouldn't matter what the gender/sex of the two participants. Gay marriage is really a continuation of the feminist movement for equal rights for women.

I do not support state polygamous marriage nor any state encouragement of such an arrangement. Polygamy usually means one man is equal to many wives (or, admittedly, very, very rarely, the reverse). There is an inherent inequality in these relationships which usually manifests itself in the many women being married to one man suffering either financial hardship or experience a curtailing of their freedoms and educational opportunities. That's not the kind of Canada I want to live in!
Jancis wrong
Jancis is quite incorrect. Polyamory covers a very wide range of multiple-partner relationships. The kind of polyamory that involves at least one person married to more than one other person is called polygamy. The kind of polygamy where one man is married to multiple women is called polygyny. One way of practicing polygyny is required by the FLDS religion. It's the religion that distorts the society, by favouring only this kind of relationship. If Canada has ratified a document that results in the banning of polygamy, that is a violation of an individual's most basic rights to form a family of their own choosing, and we should withdraw from that particular agreement which is enforcing a particular religious view (monogamy or serial monogamy).
CORRECTION
Re. the above ....sorry, I should have referred to the writer as Connor from Seattle, not as Fail. My apologies.
Polygamy
What "Fail" is talking about (censenting adults marrying one another) is POLYAMORY, not polygamy. In polyamory, all the adults, regardless of their gender, are equal, with equal rights. It's actually a very democratic institution, if still unusual. In polygamy, one man is collecting many women to be used as concubines in his harem. He enjoys a sex fest, and the rivalry of many women (and their children) vying for his attention, but the women are only allowed one sex partner -- him. This automatically puts the women in a subordinate position of second-class citizenship. Let us remember that polygamy comes from the dark ages when women had no rights and were considered chattels to be traded among men. Canada has actually already agreed with this view, and on 18 October 2002 ratified the Protocol on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, which condemns polygamy as a contravention of women's equality rights that also harms their children. Canada is legally obligated to uphold this document, so why are we having this debate in BC Supreme Court? We also have a Charter that in sections 15 and 28 states that women have equality with men. Doesn't Canada's signature on these two all-important documents mean anything? If the judge decides that women's GUARANTEED equality rights must be downgraded in favour of the FLDS males' claim that God wants them to collect women into harems, then the judge will have destroyed the very DNA of the Charter. And if that happens, women's rights in Canada will have been thrust back 1000 years.
Fail
Cars should be illegal because people die in them all the time. Ridiculous right? Here's the problem: The word polygamy has been attached to abusive practices, but it's the practices that need to be stopped. Children should not be forced into marriage and people should not be abused. Look up the definition of polygamy - the actual definition. It's marriage between more than two people. If three consenting 40 year old people, two men and one woman, wanted to marry each other, that should be legal. Stay out of their business.
Jones is right!
All forms of polygamy are harmful because Mother Nature doesn't create enough females to support the lifestyle. Male to female birthrates are 50-50, globally. Thousands of Lost Boys are cast of of fundamentalist Mormon cults. There's no such thing as a single 30-50 year old woman in a polygamous society, they're all married with many children. When a 50 year old polygamist male desires a new bride, he marries a young girl. Polygamy creates a pedophile culture, plain and simple. Evil men can lie, but math doesn't. these cults have no place in a civilized world, and the sooner law enforcement steps in to rescue the innocent victims, the better. If you've seen the film "Banking On Heaven", then you know what these evil men did to Ruth Cooke. It just breaks your heart. Godspeed Canada and Texas! God Bless You!
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