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Canada Polygamy Update


Just a quick note on the Canadian polygamy story. So far as I can
tell at this point, the initial reports were accurate. A study
sponsored in part by the Canadian Department of Justice did indeed
recommend the repeal of Canada’s anti-polygamy statues. There were
actually a total of four sponsored studies. In addition to the most
controversial study (the one that called for the decriminalization of
polygamy) a second study called on Parliament to “revisit the current
criminalization of bigamy and polygamy.” So while this second study
does not directly call for decriminalization, it certainly implies
that decriminalization may be wise. The other two studies oppose the
decriminalization of polygamy. So we have no consensus here among
these four government-sponsored legal studies. Instead we have a
serious debate about decriminalization. And there’s much more to it
than that. The four reports are dense legal-social arguments that
come to grips with a wide range of scholarly and legal studies of
polygamy. I will have more to say about these reports in
time. There are problems in these reports, and important issues and
arguments that are not represented or dealt with. But the Canadian
polygamy debate is clearly on, with partisans on both sides. And
this is only the beginning.