Canada gay marriage law used to defend polygamy

A man being charged with polygamy in Canada will argue that since the law there permits gay marriage, his multiple marriages should also be allowed.

The man is one of two fundamentalist Mormons in Canada who have been charged with polygamy. Winston Blackmore reportedly has 19 wives, and James Marion Oler has two.

Mr Blackmore’s lawyer says he will plead not guilty, and will base his defence on the changes made to Canadian law to allow gay ‘marriage’.

A local newspaper explains that before same-sex marriage was allowed, the definition of marriage was “the union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”.

In 2004, the Supreme Court substituted the words “one man and one woman” with “two persons”.

Since the Supreme Court could alter the definition in this way, the newspaper argues, it could be difficult to retain “to the exclusion of all others”.

The argument then follows that if the “exclusion” phrase was removed, then polygamy would be lawful.

Same-sex unions, or civil partnerships, are not recognised as marriage in the UK.

However, a ‘homosexual rights’ group in Scotland recently launched a petition to have the law amended so that same-sex couples could register marriages.

A same-sex couple who were ‘married’ under Canadian law were recently told that their union would not be recognised as a marriage under UK law.

The High Court judge ruled that civil partnerships were indeed different from marriage, and that the Government, in denying gay couples the right to marry, was engaging in a legitimate attempt to protect marriage and family life.

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