We await a court ruling on polygamy in Canada. Last week, the BC Supreme Court of British Columbia wrapped up deliberating whether polygamy laws violate religious freedom under the Charter.
If nothing else, a population generally balanced evenly between men and women suggests that marriage consisting of one of each would be preferable. What do you do with all the boys that cannot marry because a few old men have claimed and married all the women?
Carolyn Jessup at 18, became the fourth wife of a 50 year old man. She reports that surplus, young teenage boys, accused of succumbing to sinful temptations, are dropped off in a city and told they are not wanted any more. (Macleans, April 4, 2011) I guess that cleanses the commune of potential trouble makers!
Apart from the obvious arithmetic, marriage restricted to two people is based on the natural need for one woman and one man to conceive and parent a child. This was the creation ideal in the Old Testament, despite the acceptance of bigamous marriages.
Even there, the experiences of Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah indicate the arrangement was less than happy. All the wives in Old Testament polygamous marriages squabbled, creating the same misery as unfaithfulness in monogamous marriage. Christ confirmed monogamous marriage in the New Testament.
But if members of the same sex can form a marriage, restriction to two marriage partners loses its original rationale, making it difficult for liberal governments and courts to deny marriage rights for other arrangements.
Furthermore, families with more than two legitimate parents were created by the so-called "two-mother" ruling of the 2007 Ontario Court of Appeal. The court held that the biological mother of a small boy and her same-sex partner are both legally mothers of the child. The boy's biological father is still considered his father.
This family of two female married parents and a legitimate father outside the marriage is an opening parody on polygamy. Furthermore, Ontario recognizes multiple wives if previously married in a consenting jurisdiction. Put that beside the irrelevance of only two in a marriage, and polygamy becomes a reasonable option.
The slide into an eventual definition of marriage with multiple relationships is predictable even though the journey may be bumpy. Tradition, religion and social acceptance are no match for the juggernaut of Canadian Charter rights currently defined by the courts.
Together with the burgeoning use of internet pedophilia, children have become a by-product of sexual union, in which current culture prioritizes recreation over procreation. Are we heading for another, worse tragedy than the Canadian native residential schools heartbreak behind us?