Polygamy Now
The unfolding story of polygamy in the United States

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Canadian Parliament to Consider Polygamy

Some brave souls in Canada (unnamed at their request) are submitting a packet of briefs to the 300 members of the Canadian parliament. The cover letter below speaks for itself.

We've added a Briefs link to our Resources column for navigating to these briefs. They're somewhat detailed, but make for excellent reading. Our own family is described in one of the briefs.

Dear Member of Parliament,

The following briefing notes about the issue of polygamy have been prepared for you so that you can be better informed about this issue as it becomes more prominent on the political stage.

There is a growing civil rights movement in the U.S. (see Briefing Note No. 1 and No. 5), which aims at having anti-polygamy laws declared unconstitutional and having polygamy recognized as a legitimate family structure. There are currently two court cases that are working their way through the American judicial system. It is the aim of each of these court cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The first court case, entitled Bronson versus Swenson (see Briefing Note No. 3), was launched in 2003. On September 25, 2006, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accepted written briefs. A three-judge panel is now reviewing these briefs.

The second court case involves Rodney Holm’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court (see Briefing Note No. 4). On Friday, November 17, 2006, a letter from the U.S. Supreme Court was received by Utah’s Attorney General’s office. In the letter, U.S. Supreme Court officials requested the Attorney General’s office to respond to the petition by December 13, 2006. After it receives that response, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case. The fact that the high court has requested a response from Utah’s Attorney General indicates that there is interest in hearing the case.

Given the arguments made in the written briefs submitted for each of these two court cases, it is highly probable that anti-polygamy laws will be declared unconstitutional in United States. When this happens, it will be difficult to argue that Canada’s anti-polygamy laws will withstand a challenge to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since the Canadian laws would be struck down using similar legal arguments.

The Canadian government did commission some research papers on the issue of polygamy (see Briefing Note no. 2) and released these research papers to the public in January 2006. Many of the research reports were written by people who currently work as professors of law, at various universities in Canada. Two of the four research papers called for the decriminalization of polygamy and the creation of laws to protect the rights of the people living within that family unit. So far, the Government of Canada has not chosen to act on that legal counsel.

Irregardless of what happens in the U.S., there are good reasons why polygamy should be decriminalized and recognized as a legitimate family structure. Two single mothers will soon be sending to you a position paper outlining these reasons (see Briefing Note no. 6 for an executive summary of the paper).

It is also important to realize that, here in Canada, polygamy was accepted as a legitimate family structure in aboriginal cultures before the arrival of European missionaries and it was a family structure adopted by officials of the Hudson Bay Company during the fur trade (see Briefing Note No. 7). Early Mormon immigrants to Canada accepted plural marriage as a legitimate family structure (see Briefing Note No. 8). Normal men and women descended from all of these polygamous family structures and their descendants are prominent in Canada. Recent immigrants to Canada also practise polygamy today because polygamy is accepted as a legitimate family structure in their country of origin (see Briefing Note No. 9). Polygamy has been a legitimate family structure for thousands of years in human history and continues to be in other cultures and countries.

There are other people, in both Canada and the U.S., who live in polygamous family structures and these people reject characterizations of their lives as abnormal, sex-focused or prone to child abuse. Some of them have been courageous enough to publicly declare that they live in this type of family structure and that they have harmonious, loving homes (see Briefing Notes No. 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 for their personal stories). Children raised in polygamous families were courageous enough to participate in a public demonstration (see Briefing Note No. 5) in order to tell the world that they have never experienced the horror stories they have heard about in the media. They also want to tell the world: “We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional … [we] are useful, responsible, productive members of society…freethinking and independent.” You will also learn that Nelson Mandela was raised as a child in a polygamous family structure (see Briefing Note No. 10). He states that it was a very positive experience for him as a child. He never felt alone; he felt loved and secure; and he was very happy.

I look forward to hearing from you about this issue. The position paper will be forwarded to you within the next few weeks. We hope that you will find it very informative and helpful to you, as you deal with this issue.


Blogger sammycatfan said...

does anyone know what happened?

11:02 PM  
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