Polygamy Laws Being Challenged in BC

I have been casually following the fight over whether BC’s anti-polygamy laws are constitutional or not. However, I am somewhat puzzled as to why the province is involved in this battle. Let me explain.

But before I explain, let me be perfectly clear, I DO NOT in any way shape or form support polygamy for men or women. It is my personal opinion that one wife or husband (at a time) is enough. Sometimes more than enough.

Back to the legal fight; the argument that I hear being used to show that polygamy is a bad thing (legally speaking) is that polygamy leads to the marriage of very young women (you might even say girls) to much older men, and that these vulnerable young women are then subjected to abusive behaviour from their husbands.

To me the problem is not that these old men have more than one young wife. If the problem is that the men are abusive, deal with that issue. It doesn’t matter if a man has one wife or two or more. If he is abusive to his wife (or wives) then that needs to be dealt with. Why is the constitutionality of a polygamy law being tested to deal with men who are alleged to be abusive? If the men in Bountiful limited themselves to one wife would there still be public outrage at the behaviour of these men?

Interesting point to ponder. Care to chime in?

4 Comments

  1. I am pro choice for marriage. Im not for nor against plural mariages, and I think people should be free to make the marital choice that best suits them. What I can’t see, however, is how polygamists are inherently ‘bad’ and am a bit embarrassed that our government is using polygamy as a blanket term to deal with MANY issues that are occurring in a few highly publicized polygamist colonies. It seems to me that the government (and public) are condemning polygamy rather than the individuals that are committing these crimes. I don’t see the same intense public outcry for men who beat their wives and have only one wife. I think its the sensationalization of something ‘different’ and ‘odd’ and ”foreign” distracts the general public from seeing the REAL issues…

    …but that’s just my take on things 😉

  2. I just can’t help wondering if all this would in the news if the situation was reversed? Women having multiple husbands. Being abusive them, robbing them from their youth,their education and are told they are only good for their sperm. Maybe we women should try to have our own community and call it Pitiful. I am really angry that women and children are being treated this way. The number of spouses doesn’t matter, its how the people in the community is treating everyone. Women fought hard for equal rights. Now the pitiful community is bringing back what we fought so hard for to be rid of it. Ok, enough venting! Good night!

  3. “The Secret Lives of Saints” by Daphne Bramham is an extensive look at Bountiful and Blackmore. The problems of this cult are frightening. The government has tried repeatedly to prosecute those who are abusive but no one will speak up except a few discredited “escapees”. Even Oprah’s visit failed to produce any revelations that could be used in court or by child protection officials.

    The community also claims that there are no child marriages and polygamy is hard to prove given the way things are set up. However, polygamy remains one of the offences that might allow some legal protection for the victims in the community(ies).

    As for the morality of polygamy the TV show “Big Love” tried to convince us that it is possible to have a healthy plural marriage. Sure, the family had difficulties – and not just in its dealings with the “outside” world but, like any family, had squabbles and disappointments and jealousies. The thing is, I think for marriage to be successful it must occur within a society that supports it. This is why it is crucial to support gay marriage – so that gay marriages can be at least as successful as heterosexual marriages. And, we would do well to shift our societal values to be more supportive of those marriages, too, because there are many that are adrift or abusive.

    Marriage is an institution of a society. We are not set up to create healthy plural marriages in our independence-valuing society. Could that change? I imagine so. This constitutional challenge is an interesting piece of the answer to that question.

  4. I have friends who are open polygamists and are wholly supported by their community. It IS possible. The problem they face is the assumption that ALL polygamists are women oppressing, child bride-ing, cult following ‘freaks’.

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