When the British Columbia government's polygamy reference case opened
at the province's Supreme Court of Canada on Nov. 22, 2010, a stream of
participants and witnesses, including representatives from the Canadian
Coalition for the Rights of Children, REAL Women of Canada, the
Christian Legal Fellowship, and academic experts, testified about the
many harms associated with polygamy. Carolyn Jessop, who fled a
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FDLS)
community in Utah with her eight children in the middle of the night,
summed it up well: "Polygamy is not pretty to look at. It is nice that
it is tucked away in a dark corner where nobody has to see its
realities, because it's creepy."
But George Macintosh, the amicus
curiae appointed to present the opposing argument, came out swinging. He
characterized Section 293 of Canada's Criminal Code, which bans
polygamy, as an overly broad and grossly disproportionate law rooted in
Christian prejudices, a law demeaning to polygamists. Women in
polygamous marriages anonymously testified that they were happy, that
they'd made the right decision. According to the CBC, the B.C. Civil
Liberties Association argued that "consenting adults have the right -the
Charter protected right-to form the families that they want to form."
And the Canadian Association for Free Expression maintained that the
legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 strengthened the individual's
right to enter a polygamous marriage.
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