"I’ve covered some strange stories, but this is one of the most mind-blowing."
A columnist for one of Canada's large chain newspapers admits she has trouble handling reality, does some straight reporting but can't be bothered to look up the difference between polyamory and polygamy, then expects her subjects to carry the burden for her reality-handling problem.
Nevertheless, this is a good piece of publicity for the busy people in the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, and for their position on the reference case now before British Columbia's Supreme Court testing the legality of Canada's very broad anti-polygamy law. The 1890s law, unenforced for decades but now being dusted off, criminalizes not just patriarchal Mormon polygamy (its original intent) but also polyamorous households if they are "conjugal" — a word the law leaves undefined except to specify that it does not require sex.
Three's Company for Polyamorous Edmontonians
By Mindelle Jacobs
Marilyn, a stay-at-home mother and polygamist, has a dilemma. Who to sleep with on Valentine’s Day? Her husband or her boyfriend?
I’ve covered some strange stories over the years but this is one of the most mind-blowing.
I’m sitting in a Jasper Avenue cafe with Marilyn, her husband, Harry, and her other lover, Bob. (I’m using pseudonyms.)
The three plan to go out for a Valentine’s dinner together next weekend, but who gets to have sex with Marilyn?
“I don’t know. I haven’t been told yet,” quips Harry.
Retorts Marilyn, pretend-checking her PDA. “I make no promises. I have no idea,” she laughs. “Probably nobody,” she says seconds later, since Valentine’s Day is a Monday and she’s got to be up early to get the kids to school.
...Marilyn e-mailed me after reading a recent column I wrote in which I criticized a law professor for urging that polygamy be decriminalized.
“As a mother and wife, I firmly believe in the protection of women and children,” she wrote. “As an individual who identifies as polyamorous … and is involved in a consensual relationship with not only my spouse but also with another man, I strongly disagree with (the ban on polygamy).”
She wondered if I’d like to chat. Well, sure. After all, you don’t (knowingly) meet polygamists every day. The back story is that Marilyn and Harry have been married for 12 years. Harry and Bob have known each other since junior high.
A couple of years ago, Marilyn met a polygamous trio (a man and two women) and, as she explained: “Something just resonated with me.”
She compares her awakening polyamorous sensibility to someone realizing he or she is gay. “It was a very interesting process coming out to myself,” she says. “I realized something very deep about myself — that this kind of relationship makes sense to me. This is who I am.”
Marilyn bumped into Bob one day and opened up to him about her feelings. She wondered if Bob was interested in experimenting with polygamy, or polyamory, as she prefers to call it.
“It kind of weirded me out in some respects,” admits Bob, who is separated and raising kids of his own. “It’s not something I ever expected to pursue.”...
...The kids in the two households are too young to know what’s going on but they may figure it out one day. “If the legalities of this were different, I’d probably be much more open with my children,” says Marilyn.
She’d like polygamy either legalized or the Criminal Code section narrowed so proof of exploitation is required for a conviction.
Sorry, Marilyn. While I can’t imagine the police busting up your polygamous party, I don’t want Canada to be a beacon for the cause. Overall, polygamy causes immense harm to women. Why encourage it?
Read the whole article (Feb. 6, 2011).
Meanwhile in the B.C. court, the evidence-presenting part of the trial has just ended and the case has been adjourned until March 28th, when closing arguments will begin. TV cameras will be allowed into the courtroom then. Check for recent news updates.
Whichever way the judge decides, the next step is almost certain to be Canada's federal Supreme Court, and then perhaps a political fight in Parliament over rewriting the law. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association continues to need donations and volunteers to keep being heard in this process. I just donated, so I feel fine asking you to as well.
Poly house-party fundraisers are also being planned across Canada and perhaps elsewhere, with help from the folks at Modern Poly in the U.S.