Canadian Court Considers Legalizing Polygamy

On Monday, British Columbia’s Supreme Court took up the matter of whether Canada’s ban on polygamy is unconstitutional. An 1890′s law prohibiting the practice of plural marriage has been challenged as violating the freedom of religion and association guarantee as spelled out in the Charter of Rights.

What’s At Stake?

B.C.’s Attorney General has asked the court to answer two questions. First, is Canada’s prohibition of polygamy legal and if so, are all polygamous unions illegal or only those that involve minors or exploitation.

Those in favor and those opposed are watching the case closely and the court’s decision will not likely be the last word on the subject.

Protection of Women and Children

Groups opposed to polygamy view the current status quo as an important protection for women and children, but B.C. Civil Liberties lawyer Monique Pongracic-Speier points out that adults in Canada have the Charter protected right to form families as they see fit.

Limited Legalization

This hearing follows on the heels of the unsuccessful prosecution of two fundamentalist Mormon leaders in Bountiful, B.C., in 2009. If the court rules against the current law, Canada will become the first country in the world to decriminalize polygamy and could possible open the doors for legalization in some form.

What Do You Think?

Do adults have the right to from polygamist unions without interference from the State? When do the interests of the community at large trump the individual’s personal or religious beliefs?



photo credit: Nick Dabbles with Polygamy by mockney_piers


Tom Edgar
Tom Edgar6 years ago

There is much more involved than the physical unification in polyandry and polygamy. What one does in life is the affair of those involved but what one may demand from society in support of those desires is another matter.

The question of taxation, family welfare and benefits, and the obvious, in polygamy, of increased family size and the inevitable and undesirable outcome of over population are all inhibiting factors.

What you do with your own bodies is none of my business, What you wish me to contribute to the welfare of the outcome of that physical relationship most certainly is my business.

Leslie C.
Leslie Cochrane6 years ago

As a number of people - both female and male - coming out of polygamous families have stated, "Polygamy only produces abusers and victims". We all know that legalization of polygamy has to do with one man with multiple wives and is a way for politicians to placate certain religious groups, many of them immigrants as well as Mormons. Haven't we heard enough stories of abuse to convince us that such situations are not only unnatural, but set the stage for such crimes as pedophilia, regarding underage girls who are born into a situation they have no choice but to accept? Polygamy was based on the premise that the purpose of women is for only two things: Sex and bering children. That is why education for girls is not a prominent consideration in such communities. Educated women do not accept their imposed inferior status, because they are more independent and free-thinking. And what to do with young men who are sexually frustrated and have no hope of having their own families, because all the young girls are taken by the older men? One solution is to boot them out of the only home they've ever known, with the state assuming responsibility for them, and another is to promise them unlimited sex in paradise, and turn them into little terrorists and suicide-bombers. If God intended for people to be polygamous, then there would be far more girls born than boys - and if underage girls were meant to have babies, they wouldn't have such a high mortality rate when they give birth.

Connie K.
Connie K.6 years ago

As long as everyone concerned is a consenting adult I don't think it should be up to the law to decide who can marry who. There are a lot of relationships that do not work out, a lot of single moms and single dads, it is all part of life. I think it is up to the individual what sort of relationship they want for themselves, and yes, sometimes it is trial and error isn't it?

Patrick Mil
Patrick Mil6 years ago

Government (pssst WE ARE the government) needs to tread carefully with this polygyny issue (see below).

Polygamy is a form of polygyny, and is the taking of more than one wife. Initially, one might think that only a heterosexual man can be a polygamist, because lesbians are each wife to the other. What marital situation would occur however if one of the lesbians in a lesbian marriage were to marry another female?
That would make her a polygamist, but not her first partner, unless the first partner were to marry the second partner.

Polyandry is the taking of more than one husband. Initially, one might think that only a heterosexual woman can a polyandrist, because homosexuals are husband to each other. What marital situation would occur however if one of the homosexuals in a homosexual marriage were to marry another male? That would make him a polyandrist, but not his first partner, unless the first partner were to marry the second partner.

Now, what marital situation would occur if a heterosexual man were to marry a bi-sexual woman, and that woman then sought to marry another woman? How would it be if the second woman in that marriage were to marry another woman, but the third woman not marry the first woman, but if the third woman turned out to be a bi-sexual, who in turn wanted to marry the man who was married to the first bi-sexual? For the sake of time I will say that the same situation could occur in opposite gender mode.
So, now, that brings me to the childre

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

The question should not be if it should be legalized. I wouldn't give a crap if someone is living on their own on an island, whatever. But under governments, there are rights associated with the legal state of marriage -- in our country, S.S. pensions, for example. What about people on food stamps or other federal aid? That has been a problem out in Utah, where so many women and children are using up the resources of the state, it is unfair to the rest of the population.

Laws should be secular. If in your house, you want to screw many women, go for it ... but don't ask for governmental assistance for more than one wife.

Sorry. Religion exasperates me no end. The laws, the restrictions, the lack of free will. If you like to be told what to do, swell -- but I'll only obey the secular laws I live under.

doris k.
Past Member 7 years ago

Canada would not be the first nation to legalize polygamy. It is legal in most muslim countries including Saudi Arabia where a man may have four wives. He may then divorce any number of them and marry more, keeping the original ones in his home! I think polygamy is great! Would love to have multiple husbands.

Enni S.
Enni S7 years ago

What does religion or wife being submissive to men has to do with the fact that some are able and willing to share their life with more than one spouse?
If you haven't noticed, nowadays people already have children with multiple partners. It's starting to be abnormal to be married to the same partner (or even to be married, to start with) for the rest of your life and to make all your children with that same person. Only thing is that society still doesn't approve of multiple partners SIMULTANEOUSLY.

For no reasonable reason whatsoever.

Allan Y.
.7 years ago

Move to frigin Utah. There have been so many books written by children who grew up in a Mormon environment, not one doesn't have a sociological, or at best an emotional problem.
It's a disturbing way to bring up children.

Jeffrey M.
Jeffrey M7 years ago

I like to think of myself as a fairly enlightened guy, but imagining myself at the head of a bigamous family, I can see some serious problems:

If I had two wives and two sets of children, then for starters, I have no idea how I would support both families. Aside from that, there would be emotional problems, since I would probably prefer one family over the other. I would most certainly tend to give more money and attention to my favourite half of the family.

Somehow, I doubt there are a lot of guys out there who could do better. I really think that you have to choose your partner, man or woman, and stick with that decision. Anything else is very likely to fail.

Jeffrey M, Atheist, BMATH

Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch7 years ago

So will we be killing off all those extra boys who's wives have been married of to the man with the money to support them? Or just dump them on the side of the road as the Mormons do?
Well I guess we could just start aborting them as they do females. We do not need bands of young men who have no hope of getting a wife..

Sure we do not have enough problems now..lets see if we can really get ourselves in trouble..

When sister wives marry one man, four other men have NO wives.. no who in their right mind does not see the problems arising there. Find out what other groups do with young men in their communities do with the young men who have no hope of getting a is very ugly.