The dark side of polygamy
At present there is a court case going on in Vancouver that deals with the subject of polygamy. Residents of Bountiful, BC are opposed to Canada’s anti-polygamy laws and are challenging these laws in court.

Is polygamy or polyandry such a bad thing? (Polyandry is when a woman has more than one husband.)

For most women raised in Canada it is unthinkable. They have been raised in a society that sees marriage as a union between two people. In recent years, our children are even being raised knowing that a union can be between two people of the same sex. But society doesn’t understand how a person could want to be in a marriage with a man who is also married to other women. Especially to a man who has 26 wives.

However in a society where many marriages end in divorce because of infidelity, why not have marriages where everyone is aware of each other? People in plural marriages praise the benefits of having higher family incomes, pooling resources and talents, sharing chores such as cleaning and cooking, etc.

Plus, these are consenting adults who are living in this harmony – right? Everyone has been able to make a mature decision because they are all adults – right?

No. What concerns us the most is the dark side of polygamy. These multiple wives are not all mature adults – there are also wives who are 15 and 16 years old. To us these are not adults, these are just children. And these are children who are being married to men older than themselves. In our society outside of Bountiful this is not called polygamy but pedophilia.

Many of our readers probably have daughters or nieces this age. Can you imagine them married right now? Not only married, but these children also give birth at this age. Are your daughters and nieces mature enough to handle motherhood? Would you want them to be married to a man 50 years old? A child of 16 must have their parent’s permission to marry – would you give that permission? How many of these children being granted permission actually asked for it, or are they being forced into marriages by their own parents?

In Canada it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a partner under the age of 16. So how can a man be allowed to marry an underage child? Isn’t this making a sham out of Canadian laws?

These are laws that govern our country and while we may not agree with all of them, they are there for a reason. If a person doesn’t agree with these laws, they can work towards changing them but shouldn’t be allowed to flaunt their disobedience in the meantime.

Men in a polygamist relationship have been known to claim God gave them the right to have more than one wife. We seem to recall that God also said, "suffer not the children."

Although we may not want to be in a multi-marriage ourselves, maybe mature, adult men and women have the right to choose their own lifestyles. However a child under the age of consent is not a mature adult and we feel they must be protected.
Originally published December 1, 2010