VANCOUVER — January 28, 2010 — Members of Canada’s polyamory community have applied to become an intervener in the B.C. government’s challenge of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada — Canada’s anti-polygamy law. The application, filed in BC Supreme Court yesterday, is on behalf of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA).
Polyamory, sometimes referred to as responsible or ethical non-monogamy, is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the consent of everyone involved. Section 293 forbids both polygamy and any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time and as such infringes on people’s ability to practice polyamory if the relationships involve cohabitation.
“We believe that people should be free to practice polyamory free of any criminal liability, and that the Charter of Rights gives Canadians such freedom,” said CPAA legal counsel, John Ince.
“It is not appropriate for a law which prohibits loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books, even if it not presently being enforced,” Ince continued.
Newsweek Magazine recently reported that polyamory is a thriving phenomenon in the United States, with over half a million families openly living in relationships that are between multiple consenting partners.1 Polyamory is also a thriving phenomenon in Canada.
The CPAA, whose purpose is to promote legal, social, government, and institutional acceptance and support of polyamory in Canada, has called for people who practice a polyamorous lifestyle to step forward as potential witnesses, particularly if they are cohabiting with multiple partners.
“Trudeau once famously said ‘there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’. Similarly, we believe that there is no place for the state in the kitchens and the front rooms of the nation,” said Zoe Duff, CPAA spokesperson.
“Adult women and men should be able to choose what form of intimate relationship they enter into and with whom they want to share their lives, even if it is more than one person,” Duff continued.
Polyamory contrasts with “patriarchal polygamy” practiced in religious communities such as Bountiful, B.C. where men have the right to marry or live with several women, but women have no right to marry or live with several men. Polyamory, on the other hand, is grounded in gender equality, self-determination, and free choice for all involved.
If the issues at communities such as Bountiful are alleged abuse (for example: the abuse of minors, abuse of authority, and marriages that are under age), the abuses should be prosecuted using existing laws that address such abuses.
The CPAA anticipates that his matter may go to the Supreme Court of Canada.
You can find articles and information by googling Canada Polygamy Ruling and by going to Polyamory and the News.