Canadian Government Study Suggests Legalizing Polygamy

By Terry Vanderheyden

OTTAWA, January 13, 2006 ( – A study conducted for the Canadian federal Justice Department has recommended that Canada ditch its laws banning polygamy.

“Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women,” the report states, as reported by The Canadian Press, who obtained the research through the Access to Information Act. “The report therefore recommends that this provision be repealed.”

The Liberals commissioned the polygamy study last winter, driven by the fear that opening the door to same-sex “marriage” would also pave the way for legalization of polygamy. The study was paid for by the Justice Department and by Status of Women Canada, and conducted by three law professors from Queen’s University in Kingston.

Lead author of the study, Martha Bailey, argued that keeping polygamy illegal served no useful purpose. “Why criminalize the behaviour?” Bailey said. “We don’t criminalize adultery. In light of the fact that we have a fairly permissive society, why are we singling out that particular form of behaviour for criminalization?”

Bailey emphasized that other problems associated with polygamy should be dealt with. “If there are problems such as child abuse, or spousal abuse, there are other criminal provisions or other laws dealing with those problems that certainly should be enforced,” she said.

Leading up to the legalization of same-sex “marriage” by the ruling Liberal government last year, Conservative leader Stephen Harper warned that it could lead to legalization of polygamy. “I believe we have to recognize the traditional definition of marriage in law, otherwise we will continue to be presented with demands that just get more and more radical,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s any support in the country for the recognition of polygamy in law.”

See related coverage:
  Polygamy next, Canadian Liberals Fear
  Polygamy Study Driven by Liberal Concern over Gay “Marriage” Legislation
  Provincial Attorney-General Warns Canada’s Polygamy Law Open to Legal Challenge

See Canadian Press coverage:

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