Canadian polygamy case likely to be appealed

Fri, 25 Nov 2011

A judge in Canada has upheld the country’s ban on polygamous marriages, but the case is likely to be appealed.

Canada legalised same-sex marriage in 2005 and polygamist supporters say it is therefore unfair to ban polygamy.

Miriam Chatwin, a fundamentalist Mormon, said: “We’re in the 21st century, you know, we have marriages of every kind”.

Ruling

“To say that I can choose to be gay, I can choose to be a swinger, I can choose to be whatever I want to be but I can’t choose to be in a relationship with more women and one man, I think it’s unrealistic.”

A decision on whether the ruling will be appealed is expected to be made in December.

Critics have questioned whether the case would ever have gone to court if Canada had not changed its definition of marriage.

Austin R. Nimocks, Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defence Fund, said: “Some organizations claim that same-sex ‘marriage’ won’t open the door to polygamy and group marriage, but that’s what nearly happened in British Columbia.

Questionable

“Had marriage never been attacked there in the first place, it’s questionable whether this particular assault would have ever occurred.”

Neil Addison, a British lawyer and commentator on religious liberty, said: “It seems to me that courts and politicians either accept monogamous heterosexual marriage as the historic societal norm of the west or they permit and recognise all forms of voluntary unions as having equal validity.

“To do otherwise as the Supreme Court of British Columbia has done has no validity in logic.”

Redefine

In the UK the Scottish Government is currently holding a consultation on whether to redefine marriage.

The Westminster Government is due to begin a consultation on redefining marriage next year.

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