25th November began with a heavy snowfall – heavy, wet snow – with warming temperatures and very slippery underfoot. The bus I took to the Courthouse slipped and slid all over the place, and at one junction tried to stop at a yellow light and ended up sideways across the road! I thought we might be in for a repeat of The Poseidon Adventure.
Day 4 of the reference began with an opening statement from counsel for the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints). He pointed out that this is an important test case aimed at oppressing those of Mormon faith, although Crown counsel reiterated that Section 293 applies to everyone. He also assured the court that the FLDS is accepted by the majority of Canadians, and that the consent of men and women to polygamous practices should be respected. Having asserted that there are no more harms associated with polygamous relationships than with monogamous ones, he reminded us that a change in FLDS policy made three years ago ensures that the age specifications in the law of marriage in Canada are adhered to.
Next came the counsel for the B.C. Polyamory Association, who questioned the Attorney General's decision to deal with all relational groups in the same way. He said that polyamory covered a variety of consensual adult relationships, such as one man with two women, one woman with two men, three lesbians, three gay men, and so on. There is no gender disparity, patriarchy or religious tradition. He suggested that the law, Section 293 of the Criminal Code, should apply only to marriage forms that were extant at the time of its enactment – in the 1890's. He asked the Attorney General “Where is the evidence of harm [in polyamory]? It is a concept in process.”
This concluded opening statements by counsel on both sides of the question. The Court will reconvene on Monday morning with witnesses being present.
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