Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Come and knock on our door...

Along with our shocking success dismantling gun control in the US, these days we're also seeing what might--might--be the very earliest hint of the old anti-polygamy laws beginning to erode. Starting yesterday, Canada's Supreme Court has been hearing testimony in a case challenging the constitutionality of their marriage law, which was written to dissolve the marriages of Mormons fleeing to Canada to escape persecution in the States.

The Stop Polygamy in Canada blog* has been covering the proceedings from their charming perspective on the side against equal protection under the law. They report that Craig Jones, the British Columbia AG's attorney, is walking a very, very fine line, trying to argue that the law doesn't target a religion, while also trying to insist it only applies to Mormons:

- Most challengers of s. 293 propose the broadest possible definition; grey areas include same sex multiple partners, polyandry (rare), and polyamory claiming that they practice “good” polygamy.
- Polygamy must be restricted to polygyny and not polyandry, polyamory, etc.
- Almost all of the harms that we are going to demonstrate are the harms of polygyny.
- Legislators often use a general term to mean a specific term; e.g. polygamy = polygyny; laws about animal abuse—animal does not mean human.

So. If I read this correctly (and I haven't been able to track down a more reliable source yet, so grain of salt), he's suggesting that Canada's prohibition on polygamy is acceptable, because it would only apply to the "bad" kind of polygamy: polygyny. Which would seem to mean that a man could marry a man and a woman, or a woman could marry two men or two women, but it would be a crime for a man to marry two women, or a woman to marry a man and a woman.


This is starting to make US gun laws look straightforward and well-crafted.

[* - It's one of those things you see a lot of when you're a New Jersey gun owner in a sexual minority: groups of narrowminded busybodies that exist solely to slander you, equate you with monsters, and advocate for undermining your rights.]

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