Canadian Court Rules Against Multiple Marriages

While Canada’s acceptance of homosexuality was occasionally held up as a contrast to their southern cousins in the United States, it seems Canada hasn’t worked out all the moral issues associated with “sexual freedom,” either.

In late November British Columbia’s superior trial court upheld Canada’s law banning polygamy and polyamory.

Interestingly, the court found that such prohibitions did violate the religious liberty of some groups — including some Mormons, Muslims, and Wiccans — but the law was consistent with “reasonable limits…justified in a free and democratic society.”

A lawyer for the FLDS noted a simple workaround: So long as they didn’t get “married” in an event sanctioned by the state, they were legal.

While one would think homosexual advocates would come to the defense of polygamists/polyamorists’ “sexual rights,” they generally haven’t. Instead, participants of multiple marriage have had to “lie about who they are” and are judged because of “who they love,” or more specifically, “how many people they love.”

Many, though not all, homosexual advocates have taken on the moral judgment they decried when it was used against them: Some things are “right” and some are “wrong.”  (In fact, a United Nations committee has even said polygamy discriminates against women.)  At least for now.

The repeal of DADT was largely predicated on the premise that certain things were moot because of the Defense of Marriage Act.  When people brought up objections about housing, for example, it wasn’t even discussed because of DOMA.  Now, of course, DOMA is being challenged, and such concerns are shown for the valid objection they always were.

Likewise, appeals for homosexual advocates have often focused on just asking for “our rights,” and eschewing the argument about the slippery slope of polygamy that some called an “anti-gay scare tactic.”  The fact they even recognized it could be a “scare tactic” lent some legitimacy to the claim itself:  While many Americans might support or be indifferent to homosexual unions, most still considered polygamy “bad.”

Why the disconnect between morality and logic?  Good question.

Via the Religion Clause and the ADF.


  • So, which marriage would have been defended if my friends’ marriage had been illegal?

  • I’m just wondering where this false link between homosexual marriage and poly amorous marriages comes from. It seems to be one of those fundamentalist christian obsessions, or ridiculous slippery slope-style arguments against gay marriage.

  • @Niall
    You could start by asking Mr. Brown’s lawyers. You may find they are neither “one of those fundamentalists,” nor “against gay marriage.”

    The legal arguments their attorneys Jonathan Turley and Adam Alba are using are similar to those used in many gay-marriage lawsuits: The Browns are being illegally denied the rights to freedom of association, due process and equal protection, as well as the rights of adults to engage in “intimate conduct” without government intrusion.