What does the BC Supreme Court case regarding Polygamy mean to our Family?
It means a great deal.
As you know, the three of us, my Brother Husband and my Wife, are living an illegal life as the Canadian Law states, based on its ruling back in the eighteen hundreds. A law meant to curb the influx of Fundamentalist Mormons into Canada. We could be charged under this Law and spend up to five years in Prison. So would all 30 guests that attended our Commitment Ceremony.
In the same manner that the Fundamentalist Mormon “weddings” are not legal as they are not performed by a Federally sanctioned Justice of the Peace and are involving more than one cohabitating spouse, we too fit under this description.
We were “Married” by an officiator that, while had nothing to do with Religion, was a similar to a Justice of the Peace without the credentials. We had guests and our Wife wore a Wedding Gown. My Husband and I wore suites and there were Rings, Champagne and White Wedding Cake. There were Toasts and a Party atmosphere.
Now we cohabitate as Married people. We raise our children as a group and are open with their Teachers and Health Care Providers. We host Polyamory meetings at our house and offer advice on how to do it successfully.
We are, under the definition, Polygamists. While our grouping is not the norm in terms of Polygamy, as we are Polyandrous and the Woman is free to choose and to act as she pleases and so are the Men (I have a Girlfriend that I Love dearly and is accepted within our Clan).
While the BC Supreme Court case has tried to separate Polygamy from Polyamory, our Family has crossed that line. We went from simply being Polyamorous to being Polygamists in one issuance of Vows. There is no difference.
The Arguments at the court case have strived to separate the difference between Polyamory and Polygamy in an effort to distance the Polyamory advocates from the issue surrounding the community of Bountiful in British Columbia. They do not want to be lumped into that quagmire and while this makes sense, I feel it waters down the argument we initially put forward. It seems like a step back in order to appease the general public and the Court.
If the Court Case ruling comes down separating Polygamy from Polyamory then where does our Family stand? If it outright upholds the Law then we continue to be deemed as living an Illegal Life. If it continues to the Canadian Supreme Court, as it very well may, then we continue to be in Limbo.
We have been asked to do interviews for Media and, while we have been obliging, we continue to use pseudonyms for fear of “outing” ourselves. We have much to say but there is only so much we can for fear of reprisals. My Brother Husband is continuously in fear of this due to his job. I respect that, as does our Wife, but we all wish we could be open about things with our work life.
One time, when we all went in to our son’s after school care centre we all introduced ourselves and made a point of noting that we were all “Co-Parents”. The next day when I was picking him up, the teacher came to me and asked: “We have had children with two Mommies, and those with two Daddies but we have never had a Child with three parents. What does he call you all?” I made an effort to explain and she seemed happy with the answer. There was no discomfort or hint of disapproval. It appeared to be natural. On my Health Care Forms I have my Brother Husband listed as “Co-Spouse”.
There is room for the way we live in the minds of the average enlightened population. There is the possibility of Public Acceptance. I applaud the show: Sister Wives, for coming out and displaying a, while somewhat odd lifestyle given the separation of the living units and duties, rather functional Family Unit. I do not approve of the Fundamentalist Mormon factions as I do not approve of a solely Male dominated system and a Religious-Based performance criterion, but at least they are not “Freaks” as someone called the community of Bountiful.
There are existing Laws that prohibit all of the negative aspects that are occurring or are reputed to be occurring at Bountiful: Child Trafficking; Underage Marriage; Subjugation of Women. The basic act of Marrying more than one person, whether Male of Female does not essentially conclude that ill-doings are occurring.
The Judgement comes down on November 23, 2011 in Vancouver. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association is frantically working out possible responses to the possible verdict outcomes.
We sit in apprehension over the ruling as it has a significant bearing on where we stand in the eyes of the Legal System.
All of this simply by saying: “I Do. I Do. I Do”.