Saturday, November 14, 2009

Call for Intervenors - Canadian Polyamorists Set to Challenge Anti-Polygamy Law

We US poly activists will surely be watching this case very closely. If you are poly and Canadian, please consider responding to this call - you have an opportunity to make history here both legally and socially and help ensure relationship freedom for yourself and your brother and sister Canadian polyamorists. And though this won't set a legal precident here in the US, its success will surely be helpful in working toward global acceptance of our kind of relationships.

Although this is no laughing matter, I couldn't resist including this campy picture and a link to the Onionesque article that describes it.  These three are Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his supposed second and third brides. 

But back to business.  Here's a hearty "huzzah!" to the Canadian poly activists who are undertaking this important effort.


Call for Intervenors

November 13, 2009

Court case: Upcoming BC Government’s Court Reference on the Criminalization of Polygamy and Group Marriages

The BC government will shortly put a question to the Court to test the constitutionality of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which criminalizes people who practice polygamy or enter into any kind of “conjugal union” (i.e. a common-law marriage) with more than one person at the same time. Intervenors will have as little as 3 weeks to respond with court applications and affidavits.

It is important that polyamorists who are interested in being married to more than one person, or are living with more than one person, make the court aware of their interests and the legal arguments that the law is unconstitutional, because it infringes their Canadian Charter rights of association, religion (i.e. Wiccan or Pagan), equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person. It is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books, even if it is not presently being enforced. The more polyamorous interveners there are, the more strongly the court will hear this position.


Who are we?

We are individual members of the Vancouver polyamory community and are active members or coordinators in Vanpoly (www.vanpoly. ca), who have joined together to coordinate an intervention by polyamorists so that the court can hear our stories and arguments. We have experience in organizing politically and legally. One of our members has offered to act as pro bono legal counsel and has successful experience in mounting constitutional challenges to Canada’s criminal code. We are also liaising with other civil and legal rights groups who are also following the BC government closely in this matter.

What are the steps in the process?

First, and as soon as possible, we need to identify potential intervenors and get their stories. When the government asks the court about the legality of this legislation, we want to be ready to finalize the sworn statements of intervenors and apply to the court within the 3 week period. If our application to the court is accepted, we will then prepare legal arguments in support of the above position, that it is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books. It is expected that this process will need to go very quickly.

Qualifications of an Intervenor

We are in immediate need of identifying as many potential intervenors as possible so that polyamory can be properly represented.

If you are a Canadian Resident:

1) currently living with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships, or

2) have engaged in polyamorous relationships either in the past or currently AND have a desire to live with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships in the future

then we ask you to email us.
While we are interested in hearing from ALL people who fit the above criteria, we are especially interested in having at least one female in a MFF (male-female- female) grouping.

What would it mean to be an intervenor?

1. You would need to give legal counsel some facts as to your polyamorous lifestyle which would be written up in a statement, which you will be asked to swear on oath is true. This statement would be filed in court. Your name and your address along with the statements in your affidavit would then be public. However, you would NOT need to name your partners.

2. You may find that your name and other information in your affidavit is in the news. You would NOT need to speak to media or answer their questions as you could refuse to respond to any media enquiries.

3. You would NOT need to incur court costs. You would need to pay for the affidavit to be sworn if you are in a city other than Vancouver. (If this is a concern, please advise and we will look for donations toward the cost.)

Who do I contact for more information or to offer to be an intervenor?

Please email Melly at ms.mellyn@gmail. com.

Thank you for your attention to this.


Shaman Hawk said...

I wish you guys the best on this. I hope the US government doesn't leverage your government like it did on the weed laws.

Anonymous said...

The Saskatchewan government might be bale to intervene on behalf of polygamists. They have a section 51 of their Family Act that allows polygamy.
It could be worth a call to ask them to defend their law that allows polygamy.

cchanteuse said...

Thank you for your support.

I came across this blog post, as I was doing some research for our work in preparing for the litigation.

Way cool!

As an update, we are almost incorporated as a Society now, and are preparing the documents to ask to intervene.

I'll look up the Saskatchewan example. That sounds interesting and was probably what brought up the search, since I'm looking into the family law angle. (social workers are not unsympathetic to poly families here either).

Carol (Vanpoly moderator and ad hoc group member)

Anita Wagner said...

My pleasure, Carol. We're all cheering for you and your group of poly activists.