10 Dec Same-sex Marriage Arguments Advance Polygamy Legalization
“The legalization of polygamy will soon follow the legalization of same-sex marriage. The arguments in favor of same-sex marriage are identical arguments that can be applied to the legalization of polygamy.” We’ve been saying it for years and so have many others…in spite of the scoffs from pro-same-sex marriage advocates. Well, it looks like the future may be here.
Laws banning polygamy are being challenged in Canada as we speak. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in July of 2005 and, currently, Canadian media is overflowing with news regarding the high profile case of a polygamous sect. Here’s a sampling of articles:
Polyamorists decry anti-polygamy law
B.C. court to decide whether polygamy is a protected religious practice
Laws should target abuse, not practice of polygamy, lawyer argues
Polygamy law is unconstitutional, B.C. court told
Affidavits paint ‘idyllic’ version of polygamy for court challenge
The polygamists and polyamorists point out to the court that Canada’s law do not prohibit behavior …like having sex with one or more persons, having children with one or more persons, living together with one or more persons. So, why is it an issue to codify those relationships? Same-sex relationships are allowed in Canada, so the definition of marriage has already been modified on the basis of a preferred lifestyle and behavior. Why not polygamy and polyamorist relationships?
In his dissenting opinion in the 2008 California state ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter called the court’s decision the equivalent of “legal jujitsu.” Speaking of polygamy specifically, Judge Baxter warned:
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex…
Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”
One of the interested parties in the Canadian case is the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. They call Canada’s law banning polygamy “discriminatory and an inappropriate use of criminal law.”
All of this brings to mind the old proverb: “When you take down a fence, you better make sure you know why it was put up in the first place.”
The Canadian case on polygamy is expected to be before the court until January with a decision early next year.