Back in 2009 I blogged about a pending Canadian case concerning the possible legalisation of Polygamy in Canada. The decision has now been released by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the form of Reference re: Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, 2011 BCSC 1588 which is an incredibly long judgment that is difficult to summarise.
In short however the Court has decided that the provisions in s293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which makes Polygamy a crime is legally valid under the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms even where the individuals concerned are all adults and voluntarily enter into their Polygamous relationship. Part of the Judges reasoning justifying the law is the defence of "monogamous marriage" as historically understood in the West
 The positive side of the prohibition which I have discussed - the preservation of monogamous marriage - similarly represents a pressing and substantial objective for all of the reasons that have seen the ascendance of monogamous marriage as a norm in the West.
 But, in my view, the salutary effects of the prohibition far outweigh the deleterious. The law seeks to advance the institution of monogamous marriage, a fundamental value in Western society from the earliest of times.
Now as it happens I agree with the logic of these remarks however they do seem to me to ignore the fact that the "norm" in the west "from the earliest of times" has been monogamous "heterosexual" marriage and yet it was the Canadian Courts which in Barbeau v. British Columbia, 2003 and Halpern v Canada 2003 overturned the notion of heterosexual marriage on the basis it was "discriminatory". I utterly fail to understand the logic of saying that same sex marriage is a Human Right but Polygamous Marriage is unlawful and harmful to society.
As one (non Ploygamous) Mormon wife is reported as saying
"We're in the 21st century, you know, we have marriages of every kind," she said. "To say that I can choose to be gay, I can choose to be a swinger, I can choose to be whatever I want to be but I can't choose to be in a relationship with more women and one man, I think it's unrealistic."
Normally I disagree in principle with anyone who begins a remark with the words "We're in the 21st Century" however in this case I will make an exception and agree with what she says. It seems to me that Courts and Politicians either accept monogamous heterosexual marriage as the historic societal norm of the west or they permit and recognise all forms of voluntary unions as having equal validity. To do otherwise as the Supreme Court of British Columbia has done has no validity in logic.
The judgment also says
 Any differential treatment that flows from s. 293 is not based on stereotypes with respect to particular marital forms (or, for that matter, particular religions). As I have discussed at length, polygamy has been condemned throughout history because of the harms consistently associated with its practice.
It seems to me that you could replace the word [Polygamy] in that paragraph with the words [homosexuality] and it would be equally logical and valid or illogical and invalid depending on your own personal views . In addition the entire judgment is littered with stereotypes.
Perhaps the opponents of Same Sex marriage in Britain instead of merely opposing government proposals should instead say "why not Polygamy also ?" and ask that the two issues be considered together. Now that would be logical which is more than can be said about Canadian law at present.