B.C. Supreme Court has upheld Canada's polygamy laws, but says minors who end up in polygamous marriages should be exempt from prosecution.
In a 335-page decision released on Wednesday, Chief Justice Robert Bauman ruled in favour of the section of the Criminal Code outlawing polygamous unions.
In his ruling, Bauman said while the law does infringe on religious freedom, it is justified given the harm polygamy causes to children, women and society.
“I have concluded that this case is essentially about harm,” Bauman wrote in the decision that was handed down Wednesday morning in Vancouver.
“More specifically, Parliament’s reasoned apprehension of harm arising out of the practice of polygamy. This includes harm to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage.”
But he suggested the law shouldn’t be used to criminalize minors who find themselves married into polygamous unions.
The decision follows 42 days of legal arguments from a wide variety of groups interested in the constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code.
The ruling was welcomed by B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond in Victoria, who called the decision a "landmark" ruling that sends a clear message upholding the laws. ...
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