As expected, the federal government Tuesday joined the B.C. government in support of Canada’s controversial polygamy law.
[…]If Canada were to allow polygamy, it would be contrary to international obligations that recognize the harms of multiple marriages, said Strachan.
Several interest groups also told the judge that they support the polygamy law, which was enacted in 1890 but has seldom been prosecuted in Canada.
Jonathan Baker, a lawyer for Real Women of Canada, said that when freedom of religion is raised by fundamentalist Mormons as a rationale for polgyamy, the court should examine whether the practice being engaged is in fact based upon religious belief:
“Was the marriage entered into in the honest belief that it was required to achieve eternal celestial bliss, or was it simply a matter of social pressure from the narrow, isolated community?”
Baker added that it was “no exaggeration to say that polygamy is an anti-democratic abomination” and that a finding that the law is unconstitutional would be inconsistent with the values and opinions of most Canadians.
[…]The court is expected to hear more opening statements Wednesday, including statements from groups that oppose the law and would like it struck down.
The issue of whether the law is constitutional was referred to the Supreme Court after polygamy charges laid in 2009 against two members of the small Interior community of Bountiful were quashed by the court.
The trial is expected to run until the end of January.
Canada has one of the most liberal policies in the world on same-sex marriage, and they are also notorious for their no-fault divorce laws and punitive family courts.