WillySteed*ChristineMarie*KolleneSnow*AudienceMember*EdKociela AuthorPlygsAnswersQuestions *JewelryAtGuilt* DickJaneFlipbook*Spoilers*Tweets*RebeccaMusser*My5WivesGreat Stories*BuyTeamKolleenTshirtTodayDon'tMissOut!!!Review!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

British Columbia Supreme Court Upholds Canadian Ban on Polygamy

A judge in British Columbia has decided that Canada's ban on polygamy does not violate the country's Charter of Rights. 
Yesterday B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman ruled that Canada's ban on the practice of polygamy does not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights.   Justice Robert Bauman said that while the ban does indeed violate the freedom-of-religion rights of those practising polygamy, polygamy brings such harm to women and children that these harms outweigh those rights.   In his 335-page decision, Bauman said that polygamy fundamentally hurts women, their children, and society in general.

"Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm. They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse. Competition for material and emotional access to a shared husband can lead to fractious co-wife relationships," he wrote.  "Polygamy has negative impacts on society flowing from the high fertility rates, large family size and poverty associated with the practice. It generates a class of largely poor, unmarried men who are statistically predisposed to violence and other anti-social behaviour," he added.  Bauman added that the polygamy ban law is only valid if it isn't used to prosecute child brides.

During 42 days of hearings in the case, the court heard testimony from academic experts, former polygamist women and current plural wives.  Lawyers with the federal and provincial governments argued that polygamy is inherently harmful and must be outlawed, while critics of the law said the law violates their right to religious freedom.  Most of the evidence focused on the community of Bountiful, B.C., whose residents adhere to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which believes plural marriage will allow members to reach the highest level of heaven.

Robert Wickett, a lawyer for the church, said his clients "will be concerned that people will be charged criminally, there's no question about that." B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond said Bauman's decision makes the laws surrounding polygamy "clear."   "I think the message will be heard loudly in Bountiful and across the country," she said.   It was the failed prosecution of two leaders from the Bountiful community that prompted the provincial government to send a reference to Bauman.

Anti-polygamy advocate Nancy Mereska said Bauman's decision is in keeping with international conventions that say polygamy harms women and children.   "The women that I have talked to and have been associated with in polygamy are women who have from childhood, babyhood, have been abused and harmed in this culture," Mereska, president of Stop Polygamy Canada, told CTV News Channel.   "They were forced into early marriages; they were told that their salvation was wrapped around their being obedient to the leaders of their communities. And the abuse that they have suffered throughout their lives is endemic and its lifetime sentences for all of them."   Mereska said in polygamous families, children are denied close relationships with their fathers and can be denied a formal education.

Contrarily, the Dargers, of “Love Times Three” fame, are disappointed with the Canadian ruling.  Alina Darger was given intervener status during the B.C. court challenge.  She testified about her experience as a plural wife. She described the free choice she says she made in entering plural marriage, how it is a spiritual practice for her and how much she loves her family.   Darger is an independent Mormon fundamentalist and has been married to Joe Darger for 21 years. Twin sisters Valerie and Vicki Darger are also married to Joe and together, they have 24 children.

Darger, who grew up in a polygamous family herself and chose to enter a polygamous marriage, says the ruling prevents other women from making the decision she did.  "It's restrictive and takes away my right as an adult woman for personal choice," she said.  While women don't take multiple husbands in her religion, Darger says she supports others' right to choose that lifestyle. But she says the court's decision makes such choices illegal.  "It targets polyamorous groups and other groups that might have a different arrangement than I do," she said.

Joe Darger says the problem with maintaining a ban on polygamy is that it forces those who practice it to hide it. Then, when there are abuses occurring in these marriages, they're not reported because of fear of exposing their lifestyle.   He says Wednesday's decision will do nothing to stop that.   "It was an easy decision to make judicially, but practically, it accomplishes nothing and it will continue to push a segment of society underground," he said.

This ruling does not settle this issue. The case is expected to be appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court of Canada.   Lawyers arguing in favour of plural marriage have 30 days to appeal Justice Bauman's decision.  The entire text of Justice Baumann’s ruling may be read here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/11/15/2011BCSC1588.htm

 Written by Terrasola!

Resources: Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms: 
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/Charter/CHART_E.pdf
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/MSNHome/20111123/polygamy-law-bountiful-111123/
http://news.sympatico.ctv.ca/home/polygamist_family_disappointed_with_bc_court_ruling/3504990b
http://stoppolygamyincanada.wordpress.com/

18 comments:

  1. "It targets polyamorous groups and other groups that might have a different arrangement than I do," she said."
    ________________________
    No it doesn't. It's a mistake to conflate polyamory with polygamy. The law most certainly does not target polyamorists. It targets polygamists. This is nothing more than deliberate confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Joe Darger says the problem with maintaining a ban on polygamy is that it forces those who practice it to hide it. Then, when there are abuses occurring in these marriages, they're not reported because of fear of exposing their lifestyle."
    __________________________
    The ban on organized thievery has a similar effect on the Mob, but we aren't going to make it legal.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Troy, I was just about to make the same type of comment-that if you are doing something Illegal; Murder, robbery, battery, you tend to hide it or yourself from authorities. The Darger's theory-should we just wipe out ALL laws to get the murderers, rapists, thieves, etc. the 'help' they need? The 'Dargers' and others in polygamist relationships-NONE OF these people were alive back when the U.S. told the Mormon church to change their beliefs on Marriage or Utah would not be admitted to the Union. I can not comment on Canada's laws, but, it is probably along the same time line. Anyone today entering into this type of relationship KNOWS it is illegal. What if it goes against your religion? You have a choice-ohter Mormons have adapted to the laws of the land. I also feel, in this Country, more need to read the Bill of Rights and the cases that have ensued afterwards. Freedom of religion-the gov't cannot keep anyone from establishing a religion.... Alot of different religions have sued over the first Amendment. But, I read when the Bill of rights was being written, it had alot to do with our Founders not wanting a situation where this new country would have ONE SANCTIONED RELGION and this religion would have bias over other religions. i.e. 'the Church of England type situation. When it comes down to 'laws of this country' vs 'religious demands', the laws of this Country overrule what ever a religion tells you to do .

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like to remind people that freedom of religion is a gift from secular governance. If we didn't have freedom of religion, we would surely have religion, but we would have no choice in the matter.

    Using the concept of freedom of religion to destroy the liberties of others is just hypocrisy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Catherine not always so greatNovember 25, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Troy wrote: "The ban on organized thievery has a similar effect on the Mob, but we aren't going to make it legal."

    We need to be open minded enough to not assume the laws are correct. The Republican party in this country thinks it wise to make abortions illegal... If they succeed, I will argue against that law as well. I will repeat, just because one part of our society decides that a law is just, doesn't mean it should be so.

    And I have one final word about trying to prevent the Church of England type situation. Why do we (our government and schools) continue to keep the Christian holidays when the people of our country supposed to be free to practice any religion? I never understood that. (and I was raised Catholic, by the way.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "We need to be open minded enough to not assume the laws are correct."
    ______________________
    Well, you guessed wrong if you're trying to inform me of this. I'm probably the last person on earth who would assume that the laws are correct. I'm a philosopher; not an attorney. It's my job to critique the laws. I always assume that they're imperfect.

    "The Republican party in this country thinks it wise to make abortions illegal... If they succeed, I will argue against that law as well. I will repeat, just because one part of our society decides that a law is just, doesn't mean it should be so."
    ______________________
    Again, your point is misdirected. But if I run into anyone ignorant enough to believe what you're arguing against, I'll give them the heads up.

    "And I have one final word about trying to prevent the Church of England type situation. Why do we (our government and schools) continue to keep the Christian holidays when the people of our country supposed to be free to practice any religion? I never understood that. (and I was raised Catholic, by the way.)"
    ______________________
    Beats me. But a holiday doesn't violate anyone's rights. If non-Christians don't wish to celebrate Christmas, they're free to refrain. I certainly don't celebrate July 24th here in Utah. Nobody is forcing it on me. But religious practices that put human rights in danger are forbidden. That's the sort of thing that brings out the activist in me. So let's discuss polygamy and not make irrational comparisons to national holidays. That's a red herring.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've heard this argument before about legalization making polygamist communities more "open" and healthy. People who say this just don't understand the culture. Many polygamists believe that they need to live separate from the "world" because of the wickedness found there. The ideal is for them and their families to mix only with their own kind, which means attempting to be self sufficient within those communities in terms of education etc. The irony is that all the bad stuff found on the outside is found on the inside of these communities, and sadly it is often not not dealt with, and all kinds of abuse flourish. Legalization of polygamy would do nothing to change this - and why should society endorse such a destructive lifestyle anyway?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm really glad that these polygamous families took up the cause and put themselves out there for us to see. When Sister Wives began, I was all about freedom of choice and if they chose polygamy, fine. Now I have completely changed my mind and see what a destructive cult it is. Not only would I not be accepting of polygamy, I would probably work against it. The Browns did a great job of changing my mind about polygamy--but not the way they had planned.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Serena - I really agree with you. I think that seeing the effects that polygamy has on the wives and kids on the tv screen really brought to life the sadness and depression of this lifestyle.

    Seeing this has made me realize that it is emotional abuse on the wives and children. I mean the Brown teens are forced to accept Robyn as a mother and equal to the parents that they have had their whole lives (the other 3 wives)? That is crazy. No teenager would be happy about that. It is cruel.

    Watching it on Big Love was one thing - that was a tv show, but seeing these wives and kids really cry and be sad, that is heartbreaking.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent, Serena. very encouraging to hear that.

    Thanks again, Troy and FreeAndClear - always love hearing your firsthand perspectives.

    FreeAndClear - i've listened, learned and enjoyed all 3 of Troy's TV spots with Doris Hanson. Was curious if you've been on her show as well and if so, where would i look for it under the archives?

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's so ironic that the Browns are set on "setting the record straight" on polygamy by showing how well it works and yet, the ugly truth has still managed to come out inadvertently!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Make a list of Justice Robert Bauman: (A) PRESUMPTIVE FALLACIES AND (B) ASSUMPTIVE FALLACIES AND (C) FALLACIES OF IDEALS SUCH AS MONOGAMOUS MARRIAGES FALLACIES:



    Based on:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

    RHODNEY RECK

    "THE FALLACY HUNTER"

    NOTICE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: ECONOMIC AND NON-ECONOMIC CREDITS AND ATTRIBUTIONS TO RHODNEY RECK: "THE FALLACY HUNTER"

    ReplyDelete
  13. Catherine not always so greatNovember 26, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Troy wrote: "...Again, your point is misdirected"

    Troy, I was not specifically addressing you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi anonymous, I know Doris and stay in contact with her, but haven't chosen to go on her show yet. I try to get the word out in different ways, but I'm glad that I can let people share in the perspective of someone who has been there and done that!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous 8:35 - Make a point about the post or please don't post. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Again, thank you to Free and Clear and Troy for being so willing to talk and help us outsiders understand more. I really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. i wish there were an easier way to discuss the actual basis that while most religious based polygamy has inherant issues that those of use are not religious based suffer. i understand there is no way to seperate the good and bad which is why the laws banning this are ok by me bbut you all need to step back for a second and answer this for me:
    so i have both wives on life insurance benefits paperwork but cannot put my second on health care paperwork and she, while listed as a POA still has concerns wether the state/etc will recognize claims. I run a business where i carry a weapon and due to some of what I do a vest doesnt always work (ever try to wrestle someone with a strike plate in a vest?) so what happens if i get hurt or shot? how do I take care of my wives then (no kids)
    NTH

    ReplyDelete