Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Two Forms Of Polygamy"

The forces of good and evil are amassing on either side of the simmering polygamy war in Canada. You know I'm already cracking up about some aspects of this "reference" case, aspects like:

1. You are guilty of polygamy if merely accused. The law itself is SO POORLY written and so constitutionally defective, it ought to fall - on its face.
2. The polyamorists are saying that their kind of multiple partnerships is more healthy than that of polygamists. They want to be exempt from the law.
3. If the STUPID polygamy law is upheld in the reference's decision, it will inevitably be challenged again and tested very shortly afterwards.
4. There are so few polygamists in Canada, the vast majority of the amici and affiants are from south of the border.
5. Even gays ridicule the law - see this post.

Anyway, in my browsing around on this topic, I discovered the following statement from British Columbia's Attorney General, Craig Jones.

Jones's (unenviable) job is to defend the anti-polygamy law. Defending it is such a fantastical exercise, he clearly had to cook up some very creative reasoning. Let me quote some of Jones's lunatic contortions of logic:

'At one extreme, "polygamous" in the zoological sense describes an organism that will engage in mating behaviour with more than one partner in the course of its reproductive life. By this standard, most Canadians are "polygamous" and most "polygamy" is innocent.'

OKAY, JONES, WE ARE WITH YOU SO FAR! Let's read on as he argues . . .

'. . . the prohibition in s. 293 should be interpreted as follows:
. . . Section 293 prohibits . . . marriage-like relationships involving more than two persons that purport to be sanctioned by an authority having power or influence over the participants . . '


. . . WHAT? "AN AUTHORITY" LIKE GOD ?????????? Are you grasping this tortured hairsplit? Let's hear his punchline . . .

'8. The Criminal Code prohibition was and is addressed to the overwhelmingly dominant form of polygamy, [he's talking about Fundamentalist Mormons and Muslims] and the one most closely associated with demonstrable and apprehended social harms: that is, a patriarchal polygyny that is intergenerationally normalized and enforced through more or less coercive rules and norms of non-state social institutions. Section 293 leaves the balance of multi-partner human sexual behaviour, that which is unrelated to the harms the prohibitions seek to address, unaffected.'

I get it now - promiscuity in the form of casual polygamous behaviour is healthy, innocent and worthy of Canada's full legal protections (like prostitution now is), whereas informal plural marriages inspired by deeply-held religious beliefs and Biblical doctrines are reprehensible and "criminal".

So, here is where I get horribly confused - if "most Canadians are polygamous" (at least approx. 18 million of the 33.5 million Canadians), then how can Winston's and Jimmy's form of polygamy (practiced by scores of people) be the "overwhelmingly dominant form" ??? (Canadian math?)

Moreover, if the bad "form" of the two forms of polygamy is the one that purportedly involves higher "authority" and "patriarchy", shouldn't all religious, monogamous marriages also be outlawed; - AND, shouldn't all monogamous partnerships (legally-solemnized or not) - where the male is thought of as the "head-of-household" - be prohibited, too?

Message to A.G. Craig Jones - - - GO BACK TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND RE-TAKE ALL THOSE CLASSES YOU SLEPT THROUGH !!!! Only then will you be able to competently teach all those year-long classes to the Mounties, where you will try to explain all of the convoluted nuances of figuring out which polygamists are the good, innocent ones, and which ones are the bad, incarcerable ones.

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