Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Colby Cosh demolishes the "polygamy isn't next" argument

Colby Cosh , whom many including my self feel was robbed for having not been included in the list of Wizbang's candidates for best blog of the year, has been making the slippery slope argument regarding same sex marriage for some time now. He's rightly pointed out that once you've decided that there is nothing all that special about a man and a woman it becomes fairly difficult to say there is anything special about the number two. He's taken umbrage with Chris Selley's post at Tart Cider, and rather systematically destroyed Selley's response to his argument. Being a touch sadistic I rather enjoyed seeing the smack laid down upon Selley.

It goes on at length but I think the most telling portion of it is the following:

There is also some confusion here about the exact legal status of polygamy in this country: yes, it is a crime to enter formally into a new polygamous family relationship on Canadian soil--for the moment--but polygamous matrimonial relationships concluded outside Canada are already recognized as valid under, at the very least, the law of Ontario. (You'll want to check s.1(2) of your Family Law Act.) The tension between this proviso and the Criminal Code is exactly the sort of oddity that minorities have been using to explode retrograde social norms in the Western world for 150 years or more.

And, of course, supporters of polygamy are already--for better or worse, but certainly wisely--following the strategy of gays and lesbians; first make it legal, then make it equal. Ontario Muslims are fighting to establish the principle that their communities can make family law for themselves contractually, within a traditionalist Muslim framework under sharia. Legal polygamy may or may not be a direct result of the ongoing struggle, but either way I'm not confident that the criminal law can stand up to a good shove from a hard case. The cops in B.C. aren't either, which is why they've refused to round up the openly practicing polygamists in Bountiful. Tart Cider pins this on the B.C. government (presumably meaning both the Liberals and their NDP predecessors--right?), but of course it's the police who made the original decision that such a roundup wouldn't survive a Charter challenge for a picosecond. They've certainly had enough experience of appeal courts busting their chops to have developed instincts about this stuff.

Family law, sharia law and the nature of the charter do seem to indicate the polygamy could very well be in the pipes. As a somewhat bitter conservative who dislikes the fact that the majority opinion is being trampled on in the gay marriage debate my reaction is "good". If your going to trample the last few thousand years of human history regarding marriage being between a man and a woman, because "we have no right to judge the loving relationship between two people" then we shouldn't have any right to render judgement between "the loving relationship of three, four, five or six people". There is plenty of historical prescendence for it and since marriage is a "right" now rather than a privelege", whom are we to "impress our prejudices upon other people".

From an economic perspective think of the money making potential of holding multiple weddings for the same person. It will be good for the economy. Plus it could motivate people to work harder and earn more money so they could afford a second spouse. I for one know that if I ever became as obscenely rich as Hugh Heffner and had 8 or 9 girlfriends living and sleeping with me, I'd want to do the decent thing and marry them all. And really, haven't we all had the fantasy of meeting a pair of Swedish bikini models who share everything? Why should we deny some lucky guy the possibility of marrying them both if it ever happens huh?

How would polygamy affect your life or marriage? Its none of your business you moralizing bigot!


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