Skip to main content.
A non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion & cult news

Religion news articles about religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues

Home | About RNB Related: Cult FAQ | Cult Experts | Apologetics Index | Cult Information Search Engine
More articles about: Bountiful, FLDS, Polygamy:

Canada: Top court must decide polygamy issue, government told

CanWest News Service, via the National Post, Canada
Apr. 8, 2008
Andy Ivens • Wednesday April 9, 2008

The provincial government will have to decide whether to send to the courts the question of the legality of practising polygamy in Bountiful, after a decision by a senior lawyer was made public yesterday.

Leonard Doust, a senior member of the B.C. bar, agreed with the conclusions of a special prosecutor last year — that having the state pursue polygamy charges against members of the breakaway Mormon sect in the Creston Valley enclave near the U.S. border would likely fail.

The Story Thus Far
Where polygamy rules (Aug. 26, 2003)
Cult fears ignored (Aug. 1, 2004)
Bountiful case has wide ramifications for Canadian law (July 13, 2007):
“If B.C. charges either or both of Bountiful’s leaders, Winston Blackmore and Jim Oler, with the criminal offence of practising polygamy and loses, it opens the door for the free practise of plural marriage in the guise of religion. If B.C. loses, it could even open the door to other repugnant practices, such as female genital mutilation. Certainly, Muslim groups are anxiously watching to see what happens.”
Religious Rape? (Opinion, Aug. 3, 2007)
To see where Bountiful fits in with regard to polygamous sects of the Mormon Church, check the Polygamy Leadership Tree

Comments & resources by

Special prosecutor Richard Peck was appointed by Attorney-General Wally Oppal last year to submit a legal opinion on polygamy.

Section 293 of the Criminal Code prohibits “any form of polygamy [or] entering into a conjugal union with more than one person at the same time.” The maximum penalty is five years in prison.

But Mr. Peck found the law likely would not survive a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the ground it infringes the constitutional guarantee to freedom of religion.

Mr. Oppal asked for another opinion from Mr. Doust, who agreed with Mr. Peck. His view was released yesterday.

“The serious misconduct in Bountiful will likely continue until the constitutionality of Sec. 293 is authoritatively decided by the Supreme Court of Canada,” Mr. Doust wrote.

“. . . Given both practical considerations and concerns about fairness, a reference [to the B.C. Court of Appeal] rather than a prosecution is the most appropriate way to proceed at this time,” he said.

Mr. Doust also said that if the high court finds the law unconstitutional, its reasons “will force and assist the government of Canada to consider other, constitutional solutions to the problem of polygamy.”

Despite the legal hurdles the judges and lawmakers would have to clear, Mr. Doust said he feels it would still be “the swiftest, most effective and fairest way of beginning to address . . . the problems in Bountiful.”

The Bountiful residents are part of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, which banned polygamy in the 1890s.

The polygamous community sprang up in Bountiful in the late 1940s.

Home to about 1,000 residents, it is part of the sect led by jailed U.S. polygamist leader Warren Jeffs that saw its Texas ranch raided last week in an investigation into allegations of abuse by a young woman at the compound.

Texas officials have removed at least 219 children and adults from the ranch, which lies about 200 kilometres northwest of San Antonio.

The Province with files from Reuters

info Original content is © Copyright Religion News Blog. All rights reserved.
    Do not republish or repost. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

share this article Share this article

tag Related Articles

arrow Tags:
arrow Topic(s): BountifulFLDSPolygamy

Comment Comment

Join Religion News Blog at Google+ to comment, share, and follow.

RSS Feed Follow Us


Religion News You May Like This As Well

Why are you not using Nozbe?

Don't you need to get things done?

Religion News Search Search Religion News Blog