There's been various reactions in response to the decision, and still a lot of conjecture on what it actually means for Polyamorists in Canada.
John Ince was kind enough to clarify some of the legalese of the decision in the following open letter to address the content of what the decision actually means, as well as his personal opinion of why the decision was a win for the community as a whole.
I've selected some of what I consider the key points of his letter:
Statement from John Ince: What this decision means for polyamorists
Dec 11th, 2011 | By Carole |
Open letter to the Canadian Polyamory Community from John Ince
As for my own opinion, I look at is as objectives achieved, and a balance of changes resulting from the decision.
Before the decision we didn't know how s.293 would be interpreted if it was ever applied towards polyamorous relationships. Polyamorists who'd already had a ceremony were pretty clearly in violation of s.293. The question was how broadly "conjugul union" would be applied for those of three or more who were living together but had not had a ceremony, and even association with a "criminal element" for poly's who may live as singles or couples, but still have other lovers; how would it affect custody of children, etc.
The objective of the CPAA as I understood it was :
bring forward the case of Polyamory to the court to demonstrate that not all
In meeting these objectives CPAA did an outstanding job:
As for the balance:
The subset of the poly community who had ceremonies were illegal before, and they're still illegal now. There's no change.
The larger portion of the community who haven't had ceremonies, but didn't know where they stood are now legal. They can shack up freely without fear of prosecution, or loosing their kids by just virtue of their relationship choices. It is now safer to be poly and out. This is a decidedly positive change.
The community as a whole has gained the freedom to be out with less fear than before. I think this is a good thing.
And it's critical to the path ahead. Over 80% of Canadians currently support s.293, and polyamory is invisible to the issue of multiple partners in the public arena. This invisibility will hurt us unless we can change public perception.
Note: In an intensely political case like this, a ruling to strike down s.293 could have done us far more harm than good; "Notwithstanding Clause" nuff said.
But that means polyamory has to be seen. They have to see that we're their neighbors, co-workers and friends. They have to see us living normal lives, and typically happy and healthy homes. They need to see the communication, ethics, and egalitarianism of polyamorous communities around them. They need to see that we're not like the 2 guys in Bountiful, and they need to see that we're all over...not hidden away in small isolated pockets.
We now have the freedom to start doing that. And that's cause for celebration.
Yes, s.293 is still there. It's still stupid, useless and counterproductive. It still captures the subset of legally polygamous members of the polyamorous community. Regrettable as it may be, getting rid of this law is untenable unless the wider public can see it too. It's a long long road to get rid of it, and we've only taken the first step.
As the T-Shirts say..."Polyamory: Legal in Canada since 2011!". We've stepped of very well indeed.
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” - Chinese Proverb
How did I get here & Where am I going?
|canada, criminal, legal, polygamy, polygyny|