Monday, November 29, 2010

Blame Abusers, Not the Freedom to Marry

From the news articles I have read so far, it appears as though the anti-equality bigots in Canada are arguing that allowing consenting adults to marry more than one person magically causes child abuse and of various sorts and the abuse of women. Assuming things are horrible for women and children in the polygynous community of Bountiful, near Lister, British Columbia, is it really because of the polygyny? How could that be, given that there are many polygynous families where nobody is abused? Maybe other factors in place in Bountiful are to blame?

From the Canadia Press:

Opponents of polygamy have cited a long list of abuses they say are inextricably linked to polygamy, including child brides, teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse of girls, the subjugation of women and casting away boys who aren't able to marry.

Macintosh replied that if there are abuses associated with polygamy in Bountiful or elsewhere, the government should focus on prosecuting those crimes rather than targeting a type of relationship that isn't, by itself, abusive.

That would be the sensible thing to do, right?

Earlier in the day, the court heard from a lawyer representing the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, who argued that lifting the law against polygamy would violate Canada's international obligations.

In particular, Brent Olthuis said the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires the Canadian government to protect children from the harms associated with polygamy as practised in Bountiful.

But those alleged harms have happened with polygamy being illegal, correct? Perhaps the lack of this freedom to marry is part of the problem. People are afraid of having their marriages broken up if they talk with law enforcement. Legalize polygamy, and check on the children.

The Vancouver Sun had an article about two women who describe a horrible life.

Both are witnesses for the B.C. attorney-general, who has filed their video affidavits as evidence. Both support Stop Polygamy in Canada and run a non-profit in Anacortes, Wash., that helps victims of domestic violence and polygamy.

I despise child abuse and any kind of domestic violence, but polygamy is not the cause of these things. Abusers are. Almost all child abuse and domestic violence happens in supposedly monogamous situations, or with someone hired by a parent to care for the child.

The children were also neglected. No doctor was called when Rena had measles, mumps and chickenpox all at the same time, or when her ear infection was so severe that it left her profoundly deaf in one ear. Her father blamed the illnesses on Rena and her mother lacking faith and being disobedient.

This guilt-by-association attempt is not an indictment of polymamy. It is something that happens mostly in monogamous families of many different backgrounds that think illness is a religious matter and that getting medical care is a denial of God or some spiritual principle. And there are people do not trust vaccines for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with how many spouses they have.

Bring polygamy out of the shadows and let it be strutinized.

Another article in the Vancouver Sun

Is there good polygamy and bad polygamy?

Is there good monogamy and bad monogamy?

Is there good celibacy and bad celibacy?

That was the big question raised Thursday at the end of the first week of the constitutional reference case to determine the validity of Canada's polygamy law that's being heard in B.C. Supreme Court.

Since when should government decide what relationships otherwise law-abiding consenting adults should have? Haven’t we all known people (perhaps ourselves) who were in bad relationships and we wanted them to be out of those relationships? Should law enforcement have had the power to intervene when there was no violence?

The attorney-general for Canada earlier in the week defined polygamy as any relationship involving more than two people that has been formalized by some sort of rite or ceremony.

By that definition, said Ince, three lesbians living together on Commercial Drive would be criminals if they had a party to formally mark their shared love.

But if they didn't have a party, they'd be fine.

It is absurd.

From The Province

John Ince, a lawyer for the association, said the polygamy law is "fundamentally flawed" and doesn't differentiate between the patriarchal polygamy of fundamentalist Mormons and polyamory, where no gender is dominant.

Gender equality is a necessary component to have full marriage equality. Some argue that there isn’t gender equality within the FLDS, but the FLDS exists within Canada, and so the law provides gender equality, though some choose not to actualize that in their lives. Perhaps social workers should be allowed to talk alone with spouses to confirm that they want to remain in their community. But don’t keep laws against polygamy that punish people who are happy.

"This is a law that could break up loving families. It is as radical an intrusion into the private sphere of life as can be imagined."

Ince said there were thousands of people engaging in polyamory in Canada.

Government should not break up families unless it will prevent abuse.
— — —

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

If you want to write to me privately, then either contact me on Facebook, email me at fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com, or tell me in your comment that you do NOT want it published. Otherwise, anything you write here is fair game to be used in a subsequent entry. If you want to be anonymous, that is fine.

IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN YOUR COMMENTS, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO BE AS "SAFE FOR WORK" AS POSSIBLE. If your comment includes graphic descriptions of activity involving minors, it's not going to get published.