Monday, August 23, 2010

Green Party in Canada Fails on Freedom of Marry

They voted down a proposal to push for a decriminalization of polyamory. I found this story by Laura Payton in the Toronto Sun.

Party leader Elizabeth May says she used to practice family law and isn't convinced the Criminal Code makes polyamorous relationships illegal. She urged the party to reject the motion.

Why not stand up for equality anyway, Ms. May?

“I'm very unclear as to what kind of rights would ensue to a polyamorous unit as a family and what that means for the interests of a child and how that gets judged in terms of custody issues.”

How about letting people decide for themselves their own family situations? As far as child custody, there are already so many disputes. People have child custody disputes without ever being married. I can’t see equality adding to that. If anything, it might reduce it. Authorities will get involved in child custody when requested. Some people will work it out for themselves.

Several Green members argued the policy is impossible to sell to voters and could mean losing support at a time when they hit record numbers in the last election. Those who spoke in favour said the party should treat it as a human rights issue, just as they did with same sex marriage rights.

It is a human rights issue.

Payton’s earlier article has more.

“It's a human rights issue,” said Trey Capnerhurst, a Green Party candidate in Edmonton East, noting that she is a poly-advocate.

Thank you, Ms. Capnerhurst.

Capnerhurst says in cases where police suspect domestic abuse against multiple wives and children, that should be the subject of criminal charges.

“We should be not be charging people with polygamy,” she said.

Exactly! There is abuse in monogamous relationships, too, but we don’t criminalize them; we go after the offenders who hurt people.

Capnerhurst says there's a bias against those in polyamorous relationships, of which she estimates number in the tens of thousands in Canada.

She compared it to the status of same-sex marriage rights a decade ago, and says being in a polyamorous relationship is sometimes used as a reason to deny child custody to parents in divorce cases.

She also pointed to hospital rules that don't allow more than one spouse to visit patients.

We need full marriage equality. The political parties need to get on board with this, and move things forward, rather than being timid.
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  1. Elizabeth was prefectly correct in her legal interpretation the way the motion was written. I wrote about the experience in my blog:

  2. Thanks. I will check it out. Newspaper articles can be lacking.


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