Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This Is Going To Be Interesting

So, someone finally decided to lay charges in Bountiful.

“This has been a very complex issue,” said B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal. “It's been with us for well over 20 years. The problem has always been the defence of religion has always been raised.”

Mr. Oppal said some legal experts have believed that the charge wouldn't withstand a Charter of Rights challenge over the issue of freedom of religion.

“I've always disagreed with that,” he said. "Our belief is that it is a valid section [of the Criminal Code]."

Unless I miss my guess, but the arguments that will be used by the defense will rely heavily upon freedom of religion. Similarly, I expect that the prosecution will make arguments related to exploitation, and the social imbalance that has emerged in Bountiful.

Time to break out the popcorn and see what arguments are made in court.


quixote said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Don't charge these fuckers with bigamy - charge them with pimping and child endangerment.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Supreme Court has clearly stated in the Trinity Western case,

the right to hold religious beliefs doesn't guarantee a right to act on those beliefs.

I hope they throw those perverted exploiters of young girls into the federal slammer so they can enjoy being set up with multiple partners again......

Pass the vaseline boiz and enjoy the receiving end of your polygamous desires...

Stephanie said...

I was wondering about the nature of the polygamy law and exactly what legally qualifies as a prohibited relationship, so I looked up the text of the law in the Criminal Code:

"293. (1) Every one who
(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
(i) any form of polygamy, or
(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,
whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or
(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years."

I am a bit troubled about this as it is an example of the government in the bedroom. It is one thing if the government says it will only recognize a a marriage between 2 individuals, but this law outlaws any kind of relationship between 3 or more people.

While these cults that practice serial child brides are troubling and an easy target, it also means that all those people in polyamorous relationships are also breaking the same law. Three people who are living together in a relationship who don't even make a claim to being married is illegal under this section.

Technically, even being married and having a mistress on the side would be a violation.

The problem of underage brides and forced marriage should be dealt with under other laws and not under this archaic piece of legislation that presumes to tell consenting adults what kind of relationships they may engage in.

I think that the polygamy law should be found unconstitutional, not on freedom of religion grounds, but simply because it is a violation of freedom of association.

MgS said...


You make some interesting points. I hadn't looked that closely at the law itself yet. (I gave it a brief glance a few years ago when the FLDS thing started to become headline news)

You are correct in your assertion that this section does affect polyamorous relationships.

Technically, even being married and having a mistress on the side would be a violation.

It's certainly grounds for divorce! ;-)

More seriously though, the situation in Bountiful is clearly in the realm that I suspect this law was intended to address - namely the exploitation and subjugation of women (in particular - since polygamy is most often seen as 1 man, many women, with the man in a power position as 'head of the tribe' so to speak.)

So ... do you propose a different law? Especially recognizing that getting the evidence to charge these people with child endangerment or prostitution as Quixote suggests above is likely excessively difficult or even impractical?