Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Two in the Courtroom

Action in the courtroom proceeded at a somewhat faster pace than yesterday. The  B.C. government's lawyer continued his opening statement, which offered several reasons for the constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Speaking mostly in terms of polygyny ("one man, many wives") he offered four elements of harm caused by  polygamy:-

1. Harm to the fabric of society.
2. Harm to the equality and protection of vulnerable groups.
3. Harm caused by the demonstrable early sexualization of young girls,and by a surplus of males.
4. Harm to may other participants in a polygamous society.

He emphasized that the pair bond defines Canadian society. 

The representative of the Attorney-General of Canada followed, reiterating the harms caused, and adding that polygamous women were harmed sexually and economically, and that their children had lower academic achievement and experienced psychological problems.  Boys especially, with fewer opportunities for marriage, are marginalized.  Canada's ban on  polygamy is totally consistent with practice in other develop0ed countries.  The international trend is away from polygamy.

Other questions raised during the afternoon session were "What is the difference between a religious belief and the religion itself?", and "How will the Court define exploitation.

All in all a day of significant issues to be solved, and intellectual concepts to be challenged.  It is expected that opening statements will be completed by the end of this week's session, and witnesses will begin to be called next week.

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