Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday 1st December - First Witness

Professor Campbell has been accepted as an expert and began her evidence this morning.  Chief Justice Bauman made the decision late yesterday afternoon.  See here

The Amicus Curiae, George McIntosh, began today's questioning using the affidavits sworn by Professor Campbell. She stated that marriage is the central institution that renders the kingdom of heaven achievable, and that polygamy is a tenet of their faith. During her visit to Bountiful she found that criminalization of polygamy had no effect on marriage choices, and and that marriage now took place only at the legal age of consent.

Polygamous women feared that they would lose their “sister wives” if their community were prosecuted for polygamy. They would miss both the division of labour they enjoy at the moment, and shared domestic interests. But their sense of sharing does not go so far as to permit their permitting another sister wife to discipline their children.

Professor Campbell asked if women at Bountiful understood that, under the law of Canada, polygamy is a crime. The response given was that faith is more important than legal rules. She pointed out that polygamy is fundamentally unequal, but their response was that they had made that choice.

After the morning break, Craig Jones, counsel for the Attorney General of B.C., began his cross-examination, and asked Professor Campbell about the harms caused by polygamy. She agreed that, although not necessarily assessed in her research, the harms included:
a) Brides of younger and younger age (child brides)
b) Lost boys (young men who are forced out of the community)
c) The low status of women in a patriarchal society
d) Lack of children's rights to live free from abuse
e) Poor quality of education, and lack of educational opportunities beyond Grade 10

Professor Campbell admitted that she had interviewed no adolescent girls 16-17 years old; her research had dealt solely with an older group of 22 Bountiful women, and had taken place over a short period of a few days in 2008 and 2009. No Bountiful men were interviewed.

For Further information on today's testimony, go here

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