Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

November 25, 2009

"Vancouver polyamorists to intervene in polygamy case"

Xtra (Canada)

Canada's gay-newspaper chain Xtra reports on the polys who are organizing to have a voice in the upcoming court action testing Canada's anti-polygamy and anti-polyamory law:

Vancouver polyamorists to intervene in polygamy case

Those with multiple partners argue to nix dated poly law

By Jeremy Hainsworth | Nov. 25, 2009

Canadian polyamorists are asking for help intervening in a constitutional case resulting from a polygamy case in BC.

The upcoming case before the BC Supreme Court will determine whether Section 293 of the Criminal Code, which bans polygamy, is constitutionally valid.

The next date for the case is Dec 4.

In a statement to Xtra.ca, a group of polyamorous Canadians says Section 293 infringes on their constitutional rights of association, religion, equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They say it is not appropriate for a law that criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain in place. And, they want interested Canadians either to testify in court or swear affidavits to challenge the law.

In queer circles, terms like "open" and "polyamorous" are used to describe people who don't think that relationships are for two people to the exclusion of all others. Polyamorists who engage in multiple romantic relationships often disdain polygamists, whose rigid sense of gender limits the possible permutations to one man and multiple women....

...The group of polyamorists will be represented by Vancouver lawyer John Ince, past leader of BC's Sex Party, on a pro bono basis.

The proponents say the court needs to hear from Canadians who are currently in polyamorous relationships or have been in the past, and have a desire to live in conjugal relationships in the future. They are calling for Canadian polyamorists to come forward and swear an affidavit.

They say that while it is important to hear from all people who fit such a description, it is especially important to hear from those in a male-female-female grouping.

Participants would be required to give a statement, which would be made public in court.... Those who cannot make it to Vancouver can have an affidavit sworn elsewhere for presentation to the court.

The intervenor group says polyamory is different from the alleged forced polygamy practised in religious communities such as Bountiful.

In Bountiful, the polyamorists allege, women do not have the same rights and privileges as men because the religious system itself prevents women from having multiple spouses. Polyamory, on the other hand is grounded in gender equality, self-determination and free choice for everyone involved.

...Those interested in swearing an affidavit or in appearing in court to discuss their polyamorous lifestyle should contact ms.mellyn (AT) gmail. com.

Read the whole article.

This effort is being put together by people in the Vanpoly group. Here is their recent call for participants, as well as background on the case since the beginning.

Check for news updates.

Remember — we modern, egalitarian polyamorists are a side issue in this dispute. Here's the site of Stop Polygamy in Canada arguing to keep the law. IMO, our role in this is to prevent a badly written law from criminalizing non-abusive people and situations like ours, while recognizing that actual abuse can and should be blocked and the defenseless should be protected.

Update, Jan. 14, 2010: A columnist in Xtra West argues that gays should join polyamorists as intervenors in the court case, and asks interested gays to contact him. The deadline is Jan. 28.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The polyamorists need look no further than Saskatchewan case law on Polygamy..its legal there.
No need for religeous or equality type arguments. Just cite equality of treatment across Canada.

November 27, 2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask the Saskatchewan Justice Minister to appear and defend Saskatchewans Section 51 of the Marital property Act. It allows polygamy and no charges are laid. He might appear and lend case law from saskatchewan that allows polygamy.

November 27, 2009 2:57 PM  

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