Thursday, June 01, 2006

Polygamy Recognized in Canada “For Limited Purposes”

Some news from Canada, that place to the north that sometimes looks like California, but worse.
Multiple-wife marriages have been legally recognized in Canada to award spousal support and inheritance payments.

The former Liberal government long maintained that polygamy is criminal in Canada but documents obtained by Sun Media under Access to Information show that polygamous marriages have been recognized “for limited purposes” to enforce the financial obligations of husbands.

Religious organizations say same-sex marriage opened the door to decriminalizing polygamy, and worry that formal recognitions of plural marriages will weaken the government’s ability to defend the anti-polygamy law if it faces a constitutional challenge on religious grounds. A polygamist from Bountiful, British Columbia has warned he will fight for his constitutional right to have plural wives on religious grounds.
The “gay rights” crowd, that scoffs at the notion that recognizing homosexual unions would lead to the recognizing polygamous unions, is willfully refusing to think through the consequences of its own philosophical position.

They claim it’s a matter of “discrimination” not to recognize gay unions. But it’s equally a matter of discrimination not to recognize multiple partner unions.

They claim that it’s government “imposing morality” on people if government recognizes straight unions and not homosexual unions. But it’s equally imposing morality to say that “you can only have one sexual partner — or at least only one we will recognize and protect legally.” It’s saying that Moslems and traditional Mormons are wrong.

Indeed, the moral case for recognizing polygamous unions is far better than that for recognizing gay unions.

To see why, we have to ask: why should government recognize any kind of sexual union? The only convincing answer is: because children may be involved, and society has an interest in promoting the nurture of the next generation.

If you don’t buy that argument, the logical conclusion isn’t gay marriage, it’s the complete privatization of marriage.

From this perspective, heterosexual polygamy has a much better claim to be recognized than homosexual monogamy.

Ideas have consequences, and the idea that any kind of union that people want to enter into must be recognized by government most certainly requires government recognition of polygamy.

And indeed of incestuous unions.


A January story, which we didn’t report on at the time, adds more interesting detail on the issue:
OTTAWA -- A new study for the federal Justice Department says Canada should get rid of its law banning polygamy, and change other legislation to help women and children living in such multiple-spouse relationships.

“Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women,” says the report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

“The report therefore recommends that this provision be repealed.”

The research paper is part of a controversial $150,000 polygamy project, launched a year ago and paid for by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada.

The paper by three law professors at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., argues that Sec. 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy serves no useful purpose and in any case is rarely prosecuted.
Politically correct people tend to dislike polygamy, however.
Another report for the project, also led by two Queen’s University professors, dismisses the slippery-slope argument, saying that allowing same-sex marriages promotes equality while polygamous marriages are generally harmful to women’s interests and would therefore promote inequality.
Of course, the notion that women should be allowed to decide for themselves what serves their interests is foreign to the politically correct mind.


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