Posted Apr 14, 2011 07:28 pm CDT
A Canadian law criminalizing polygamy is not unlike the country’s stance on homosexuality, which was decriminalized in 1969, a lawyer for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told a British Columbia court yesterday.
In the case, provincial and federal governments argued that polygamy is inherently bad, the Canadian Press reports. Specifically, the government said, polygamy involving men with multiple wives leads to sexual and physical abuse, child brides, teen pregnancies and human trafficking.
The constitutional case involves a Bountiful, B.C., FLDS community, and stems from the failed prosecution of Winston Blackmore, who reportedly has 25 wives.
“The criminalization of polygamy is perpetuating prejudice and perpetuating stereotyping,” George Macintosh, who was appointed to represent the FLDS members, said in final arguments for the landmark case. “The criminalization of polygamy has been used to target groups that are already disadvantaged. The clearest examples are fundamentalist Mormons and aboriginal persons.”