Polygamists use gay marriage as an example of inequality in Canada

Ruby-Sachs: Polygamy and Gay Marriage

According to 365gay.com blogger Emma Ruby-Sachs, Canadian polygamists are requesting similar marriage protections as those awarded to queer people. Canada has some interesting legislation that makes it easy for equality to be achieved: If a group can prove that they are not receiving the same rights and protections as another similar group, then those rights and protections will be awarded. I have never heard of anything like this, but it just makes sense.

I have long heralded a “zero means zero” zero tolerance non-discrimination policy. I originally saw this modeled in The Gap’s policies, and I mean, if The Gap can get it right and Canada can it right, then why not America? We are the land of the free and home of the brave, right? A place where all people are created equal is where we are supposed to live. Now it seems that these clauses only apply to some people, not all.

Anyway, back to Canada. In the article, the author rationalizes polygamy by pointing out that polygamists are missing out on some fundamental rights. Her most compelling point is made below:

“The first wife in this scenario may be legally married to the husband. She has rights. If he abuses her, or acts in a way that she finds intolerable or just gets annoying, she can divorce him and receive financial support from him. If there are children, she can also get child support.

“But wife number four who is, for all intents and purposes, in the same position as wife number one, gets nothing. She has no rights and, in many cases, she may be the one in need of the most protection. Bringing polygamy under the purview of the law may protect against some of the worst abuses in polygamist relationships.”

This makes me wonder. Whenever I think of polygamists, oppressed women and gaggles of children come to mind. And if all of the marriages fall under the law, then the government could regulate it, and women would not be left marooned with children if she spent her life as a homemaker. 

Legislating polygamy would probably cut down on the amount of children entering into these relationships; if they could get a marriage license, the individuals would have to be consenting adults.

Also, in Canada gay marriage is legal. That means anyone of legal age could enter into a polygamous relationship regardless of sex and gender.

And while I personally do not agree with polygamy, I certainly don’t like anyone telling me who I can and cannot marry, as is the situation now. And my reasons for being against polygamy maybe misconceptions and half-truths, spread by people with an agenda. And all LGBT people know what it is like to be a victim of something like that.

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8 thoughts on “Polygamists use gay marriage as an example of inequality in Canada

  1. “And my reasons for being against polygamy maybe misconceptions and half-truths, spread by people with an agenda.”

    Maybe, maybe not. My problem is that I agree with polyamory in theory, but all the modern practice seems to gravitate toward misogyny, child abuse and extreme religious fundamentalism. I grew up in Utah and Las Vegas, I’ve spoken to people who have escaped the compounds, it’s not entirely an agenda.

    The argument that government regulation=protection is compelling, but faced with the isolationism and cult-like religious devotion of the majority of active polygamists, ineffective. It took YEARS of building evidence and careful planning for Utah and Arizona to finally come up with a plan and a strategy for dealing with the child abuse problems in the FLDS communities that wouldn’t end in an armed standoff or mass suicide.

    At the same time, I hardly want to deny rights to the progressive, healthy polyamorous triad in Toronto on the basis of actions committed by extremists, either.

    It’s a tricky issue.

  2. you said that polygamists are trying to get the same rights as queer people, how are they doing that?
    you described it like they are asking for the same rights as any married couple, so that the 1st and 4th wife and all in between can be protected under the law?

  3. Pingback: Commitment Conundrum: Clearing up confusion on marriages, civil unions, religion and the law | Stuff Queer People Need To Know

  4. Pingback: Commitment Conundrum: Clearing Up the Confusion on Marriage Equality « In Our Words

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