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Government Study in Canada Recommends De-criminalizing Polygamy

Date: Jan 13, 2006
Word Count: 400 words
Cross-Reference: Canada, government study, de-criminalizing polygamy

Established polygamy advocate, Mark Henkel, notes that pro-polygamists everywhere applaud the recommendation and that de-criminalization is the true conservative position of limited government.

Old   Orchard   Beach,   MAINE,   January   13,   2006   --   --     On   January   12,   2006,   an   official   study   for   Canada’s   Justice   Department   recommended   the   complete   de-criminalization   of   polygamy.     Mark   Henkel,   the   established   polygamy   advocate   and   founder   of   the   Christian   Polygamy   organization,   ,   stated   that   pro-polygamists   everywhere   applauded   that   recommendation. 
The   $150,000   government-funded   study   was   conducted   by   three   law   professors   at   Queen's   University   in   Kingston,   Ontario,   Canada.     Their   report   concluded   that   criminalizing   polygamy   serves   no   useful   purpose,   is   rarely   prosecuted   anyway,   and   likely   violates   Canada's   constitutional   guarantee   of   freedom   of   religion. 
Chief   author,   Martha   Bailey,   specifically   separated   the   issue   of   polygamy   from   real   crimes     "If   there   are   problems   such   as   child   abuse,   or   spousal   abuse,   there   are   other   criminal   provisions   or   other   laws   dealing   with   those   problems   that   certainly   should   be   enforced,"   she   said,   according   to   The   Canadian   Press.     She   was   even   reported   to   have   gone   so   far   as   to   say   that   prosecuting   polygamists   as   criminals   could   actually   "do   damage"   to   the   women   and   children   in   those   families. 
The   Canadian   Press   further   reported   that   Bailey   had   said   in   an   interview,   "Why   criminalize   the   behavior?   We   don't   criminalize   adultery." 
Ultimately,   the   report   recommended   that   Canadian   laws   should   be   changed   to   de-criminalize   polygamy,   to   better   serve   and   address   any   of   the   problems   for   women   in   polygamous   marriages,   and   to   provide   legal   spousal   support   and   inheritance   rights. 
Responding   to   these   developments,’s   founder,   Mark   Henkel,   said,     "Pro-polygamists   everywhere   applaud   this   recommendation.     The   de-criminalization   of   polygamy   is   exactly   what   we   have   specifically   advocated.     And   the   report’s   recognition   that   prosecuting   polygamists   is   harmful   to   the   women   and   children   involved   is   exactly   correct,   also." 
Henkel   continued,   "De-criminalizing   polygamy   empowers   the   women   and   children   in   polygamous   families   for   greater   protection   of   their   rights.     Real   abuses   -   such   as   domestic   and   underage   abuses   -   must   be   appropriately   addressed.     Consenting-adult   polygamy   itself,   however,   is   a   completely   separate   issue.     The   report   rightly   acknowledged   that   important   fact   too." 
"Polygamy   de-criminalization,"   Henkel   explained,   "is   not   a   politically   liberal   position,   either.     Rather,   it   is   actually   the   true   conservative   position   of   limited   government.     True   conservatives,   including   myself,   understand   that   big   government   has   no   legitimate   authority   to   be   criminalizing   consenting-adult   polygamy.   Any   supposed-to-be   conservatives   who   oppose   this   recommendation   actually   reveal   that   they   -   themselves   -   are   the   big   government   liberals. 
With   optimism,   Henkel   concluded,     "We   encourage   all   other   countries   -   including   the   United   States   -   to   heed   the   intellectual   honesty   of   this   Canadian   government   report’s   recommendation.     Consenting-adult   polygamy   must   be   de-criminalized."


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