Police raids on their communities in Texas have brought polygamists to the front pages in the United States. Now it’s Canada’s turn.
The B.C. attorney-general, Wally Opal, wants a police crack-down to stamp out polygamy in the British Columbia village of Bountiful.
The attorney-general would use the anti-polygamy law that Canada has on its books. But lawyers in Oppal’s own department have told him our anti-polygamy law would likely be struck down as a violation of the Charter guarantee of freedom and religion.
In some ways the ban on polygamy is archaic. There is no law in Canada to forbid a man from living with tow or three women, or a woman with two or more men, assuming the consent of all concerned. So if any such group were to have some kind of ceremony and call themselves married, how would prosecuting them serve any purpose?
When Trudeau said there “was no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he didn’t add “except when more than two people are sharing one.”
If the attorney-general finds there is child abuse or young girls being forced into unwanted relationships then he should prosecute to the full extent of the laws we have on the books for those crimes.
But to prosecute consenting adults (polygamists) just because they’ve chosen a life style many Canadians find repugnant is simply wrong-headed.
Do you agree?