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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Proclamations of the Red Queen

26th March 2009

Canada: British Columbia’s Polygamy Debate (Part Two)

Posted by: Craig Young

In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Conservative Party activist Tom Flanagan expresses concern at the possible consequences of heterosexual polygamy.

What would happen if the British Columbian and other Canadian courts struck down Section 293 of the Criminal Code on the basis that it constituted a violation of religious freedom? However, he argues, the state can legislate civil marriage, and prohibit polygamy on the basis that it encourages domestic violence and sexual abuse of young female prepubescents and adolescents.

He’s really worried about the prospects of polygamous male immigrants who might then use the precedent to bring in their wives, institute divorce proceedings in Canadian courts related to overseas polygamous marriages, inheritance law and other cumulative reforms. While polygamy would initially be a voluntary social practice, it would then lead to pressure for formal legislative sanction of heterosexual polygamy.

Flanagan argues that this is a direct consequence of successful Canadian LGBT spousal and parenting rights litigation, culminating in federal recognition of same-sex marriage in 2005. How, exactly, when the areas of case law involved would probably be completely different, as is the case in New Zealand law related to polygamy?

Why does this sound like opportunist anti-immigrant racism and an equally opportunist defence of the Harper administration’s cutback of Canada’s Court Challenges Programmes, which had provided assistance to Charter of Rights and Freedoms litigation?

Is it because Flanagan has a track record attacking Canadian indigenous policy, and assisting the Reform and Conservative Parties, perhaps?


Tom Flanagan: “First decriminalisation, then plural marriage” Globe and Mail: 23.03.09:

Tags: Politics · Religion

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