Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan



February 1, 2010

Canada polygamy/polyamory court case update

A new group called the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) has just been formed. It stems from efforts by the Vanpoly group in Vancouver, and others, to become "interveners" in the reference case that's being brought by the government of British Columbia to determine the legality of Canada's sweepingly broad anti-polygamy law. "We now have active volunteers and potential witnesses in BC, Ontario, Québec, and Manitoba," says the CPAA on its website. (It also has a Facebook page.)

A few days ago the CPAA applied to become an official intervener in the court case. So have 15 other groups and individuals — including an ex-polygamist who fled the breakaway-Mormon group at the center of the case, children's-rights advocates, Catholic organizations, a free-speech group, and others. Here's a mainstream-media article on the intervener applicants. Update: Here's another.

Polyamorists have a dog in this hunt because the law — unenforced for many decades, and perhaps in violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms — outlaws not just polygamy, but any type of multiple "conjugal union" even if it makes no claim to be a marriage. It also criminalizes any person who merely assists at a multiple-marriage-like ceremony, such as by bringing potluck food to a Pagan handfasting. The penalty for any of the above is five years in prison.

Here is the law in its entirety (scroll to Section 293).

CPAA has issued a press release explaining its position. The group seems to be laying the groundwork to argue that the law criminalizes a far greater number of non-abusive, egalitarian polyamorists than actual polygamists — and that laws should target the alleged abusive behavior, not any and all committed multiple loving relationships.

The CPAA is calling for more witnesses, volunteer helpers, and donations. The group writes,


We are currently looking for:

-- Legal researchers and academic researchers to help us identify and compile legislation, legal precedence, and academic research in support of our arguments in support of polyamory. Our arguments need to be grounded in the best evidence and research available where that exists.

-- Canadians who practice a polyamorous lifestyle to step forward as potential witnesses, particularly if they are cohabiting with multiple partners.

-- We are very fortunate to have a number of legal recourses available to us at little or no charge, and a legal counsel who has had experience in mounting this type of legal action. Our legal counsel is polyamorous himself. However, court filings and copying does cost. And down the road there may be travel costs as well. If you want to support us monetarily, please send a Paypal payment to donate(AT)polyadvocacy.ca, or email donate(AT)polyadvocacy.ca for instruction on how to send us a donation by cheque.

Our media spokespersons are John Ince and Zoe Duff. John Ince is also our legal counsel.


No court dates have been set, and Chief Justice Robert Bauman has not yet reviewed the applications for intervener status.

For more information see the previous coverage here. And check for news updates.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Jessie said...

I believe that everyone has the right to love who they want, how they want (excluding stalkers, of course), and telling someone that they are not allowed the right to love someone(s) the way they have personally agreed to is wrong. You want to tell someone what religion to believe in next, or that they MUST attend church or spend 5 years in prison for not doing so? It seems to me that this exactly the path that will be followed if one cannot love the way they choose.

February 01, 2010 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Johnathon Bailey said...

Now, the intervenor status is set.
However, in order to really make Polygamy and polyamory make strong usage of potential law permitting polygamy, one must make certain:
1) that family courts be given the right to authorize and provide consent for multiple spouses at the sametime. Right now any judge that authorises polygamous unions would also be guilty of polygamy, except in Saskatchewan Canada.
2) that religeous authorities be given same priviledge and can't be charged.
3) set out the rules so that when divorce occurs in multiple legal marriages/common law cohabitations etc, the conjugal partners in divorce will know how the property and inheritence law will work and who gets what. Saskatchewn family property courts have it figured out but the first in spouse gets all the rights and subsequent spouses rights are subject to the rights of the first in spouses.
4) Change the inheritence laws of provinces so that they don't read that the spouse who is closet to the dead party doesn't get it all (property), unless they specified so in a will.

April 05, 2010 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok so in canada, what your saying is you can get married, cheat, betray and distroy your spouse. And that's ok. But you can't willing and openly be truthful and love and be committed to more then one person at a time or you go to jail. Now this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's wrong for children to see an over whelming display of love, but they should become acustome to bitter divorces and being used as ponds. I don't care who you are what belife's you have on a logical level this can not make sense to you.

October 13, 2011 11:41 PM  

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