Polygamy Ban Upheld in Canada
Any religious right to live in polygamy is outweighed by the harm it causes women and children, a Canadian judge in British Columbia ruled Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Chief Justice Robert Bauman upheld the country’s ban on the lifestyle after it was challenged by a group of fundamentalist polygamous Mormons.
“This case is essentially about harm…to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage,” Bauman wrote, citing evidence that polygamy leads to social harms like physical and sexual abuse. “There can be no alternative to the outright prohibition. There is no such thing as so-called ‘good polygamy.’”
Bauman added that the ban on the lifestyle only “minimally impaired” religious freedom in Canada.
According to the AP, attorney George Macintosh brought the case for polygamy forward in order to clarify the law after polygamy charges were dropped against Winston Blackmore and James Oler in 2009. Blackmore and Winston, competing bishops in the fundamentalist Mormon sect, were both accused of living with more than one wife.
Blackmore said he wanted to appeal the judge’s decision, and many expect the case to make its way to the Canadian Supreme Court.