Peter Baklinski

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Polygamy ruling revisited: Judge takes swipe at ‘alarmist’ views of gay ‘marriage’ opponents

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, November 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While true marriage advocates are celebrating a recent decision upholding Canada’s 121-year-old ban on polygamy, they are less thrilled by the fact that in his decision the judge in the case took a swipe at what he called the “alarmist view” that the legalization of homosexual ‘marriage’ would lead to the legitimization of polygamy.

True-marriage advocates have long maintained that Canada’s 2005 redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples would pave the way for any kind of sexual union to be legally called marriage, including polygamy.

But Chief Justice Robert Bauman criticized this view for “miss[ing] the whole point.” “Committed same-sex relationships celebrate all of the values we seek to preserve and advance in monogamous marriage,” he said, adding that the “doctrinal underpinnings of monogamous same-sex marriage are indistinguishable from those of heterosexual marriage.”

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But Dave Quist, Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, told LifeSiteNews that he disagrees with the judge’s logic, saying that he is not “familiar with any social science research” that would back up the assertion that gay “marriage” and true marriage are essentially the same.

“To say that they are the same or to say that there are no difference between them is not looking at all the research,” he said, pointing out that procreation is a major difference that lies at the heart of the distinction between the two.  “The best outcomes [for society, and for the children] are clearly from heterosexual monogamous relationships.”

Quist argued that the ‘slippery slope’ that led to the case challenging Canada’s laws against polygamy can be traced as far back to the country’s changing of the divorce laws in 1968, which “opened the door” for changing how people view marriage.

Since then, he said, divorce has increased, common law marriage has been accepted as the same as marriage under the law for taxation purposes, same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, and finally, Ontario courts have ruled that a child may have more than two legal parents.

But despite his disagreements with the judge, Quist called last Wednesday’s ruling “obviously positive,” adding that the judge “did say good things about marriage and the need to keep it monogamous.”

Justice Bauman had argued that there is “considerable evidence” that polygamy causes a “range of harms” to all those involved and that it harms society. According to Bauman the case is “essentially about harm,” since the individual’s rights do not trump the right of the state to criminalize a “harmful practice.”

Among the many harms cited by Bauman in his decision was that in polygamous relationships women face “higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse,” and are more likely to die in childbirth and live shorter lives than their monogamous counterparts. Children in polygamous families also face higher infant mortality, and “suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement than children in monogamous families.”

Evidence presented to the court also showed that polygamy creates a “sex ratio imbalance” where “young men are forced out of polygamous communities to sustain the ability of senior men to accumulate more wives.” Such young men, called the “lost boys,” were generally found to be poor, uneducated, and statistically predisposed to “violence and other anti-social behaviour.”

The judge said that the solution to these, and other harms, was for the law to “advance the institution of monogamous marriage” which it sees as a “fundamental value in Western society.”

Bauman argued that the rights to privacy and family life, to freedom of religion, and to enjoy one’s culture do not “limit the state’s ability to criminalize polygamy.” On the contrary, the state has “targeted polygamy because of the physical, psychological and social harms perceived to be associated with the practice.”

Quist pointed out, however, that the judge’s verdict is not necessarily the final decision.

Brian Samuels, an attorney representing Stop Polygamy in Canada, a group who participated in the BC proceedings as “interested persons,” told his clients in an open letter that it would be a “likely event” for the case to be appealed.

Samuels mentioned, however, that the “findings of fact” contained in the judge’s ruling would not be appealable. “These findings include substantial evidence of the harms caused by polygamy, as well as the finding that there was no religious motivation to the enactment of the criminal code provision that makes polygamy illegal.”

There are two possible ways to make an appeal, through the B.C. court of appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada. The time limit for appealing the judge’s ruling upholding the ban against polygamy is 30 days, or by December 23.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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