Sunday, January 07, 2007

Please remain in your seat

When the Ontario Court of Appeal recently decided that some Ontario children are allowed to have more than two names under the category of 'parent' on their birth certificates, I attempted to refrain from using the slippery slope argument; mainly because it is so overdone.

However after reading an article by Barrister and Solicitor Iain Benson, who is the Centre for Cultural Renewal’s Executive Director, I have come to the conclusion that the 'slippery slope' argument is not only used too often; it is also false. Canadian society is actually in a free-fall not unlike one of those stomach-churning rides at Canada's Wonderland, the 'Drop-Zone'.

The judicial activism that eventually caused same-sex marriage to be enshrined in Canadian law ignored concerns such as those voiced by Benson:


During the arguments in the various “same-sex marriage” cases (in which the writer had some involvement as counsel), one of the points made by counsel for the Inter-faith coalition for the family was this. Once you eradicate the male/female nature of marriage as it has been historically understood, there is really no reason why the numbers of people in a “marriage” should matter.



This is the familiar argument that polygamy will naturally follow same-sex marriage. Here's why I think he's right:


In other words, once two men or two women can be married to each other because they wish such recognition (and if the biological aspects related to children are deemed, as happened in these cases, to be irrelevant), what logic is there anymore in restricting marriage to just two people? In fact, it was argued that, logically, if “sexual orientation” is the basis for same-sex marriage and “bi-sexuality” is a sexual orientation, then a marriage involving bi-sexuals must logically involve more than two people since their very sexual identity involves more than just a heterosexual orientation, an orientation that, as the logic went with same-sex claims, has a right to expression. What is sauce for the homosexual goose is, as it were, also sauce for the bi-sexual gander. As it happens, this argument, slightly ahead of its time, was one that the courts dealt with by ignoring it completely.



The relevance of the point has just come home, but, like many strategic litigation strategies these days, in a rather round about way. In a January 2, 2007 decision the Ontario Court of Appeal determined that a child does not just have a father and a mother as parents but can, in fact, have a third party, in this case the lesbian partner of the mother, as another parent. Thus the case is known as the “three parents” case.



If we are to recognize the legitimacy of bi-sexual 'rights' in Canadian society, then it follows that these folks may require more than one partner to be able to properly express their sexuality and therefore marriage with multiple partners must be allowed.

Polygamy has never been prosecuted in Canada because in fact it is legally impossible to do so. How can you prosecute a community of people cohabiting and sharing partners, child rearing and so forth in a society that allows Swingers' clubs, 'equal' marriage, and more than two names on a birth certificate? Also, from a Freedom of Religion point of view it would never stand up in court. The only way that the legal system can attack is through proof of abuse.

Let's just cut out the nonsense and strike polygamy off the books. If you have a law on the books but you never use it, what's the point? It becomes meaningless.

So buckle up, close your eyes and enjoy that ride down. It's gonna be a gut-wrencher.


* * * *

More at Rempelia Prime - Buoying the Bishop of Bountiful.

Ted Byfield (Calgary Sun) - Family structure takes another hit.

Spink about it - Slippery Slope or Society's Freefall?

54 comments:

Red Tory said...

Much ado about nothing if you ask me.

vicki said...

Sad that laws are being 'written' in court and not in our Parliament. Some don't mind the slippery slope...the enjoy being at the bottom.

jeff davidson said...

joanne, even if polygamy became legal, i can't imagine there would be a rush to take on more than one spouse in canada. for most of us, one is plenty.

furthermore, so-cons seem convinced that their values are not only morally correct but the position of most canadians. if that's the case, why worry? surely most canadians will choose the correct model of marriage. no?

btw, gay marriage has not increased the homosexual population in canada to my knowledge. what makes you think there's a whole group of canucks waiting to go all polygamous?

Anonymous said...

I have some questions about the future implications of the multiple parents ruling.
1/. Will both of the current parents have to be in agreement to add another parent or will one parent be able to petition the cout to add another?
2/. Will outside interveners be able to petition the court for parental rights status if they deem it in the best interest of the child?
3/. Will organizations be able to become parents?

Soccermom said...

Yes, it's only a matter of time...

I wonder exactly how low society will have to slide before the lefties will say "OK, enough is enough!"

Spinks said...

I always tended to think it was a slippery slope but you know Joanne, you're right. It is a free fall. I'm still amazed that folks like red tory can say with a straight face that this is no big deal. There has to be an effect and impact. To totally dismiss it is incredibly irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

But who cares what is best for the children in this world hey rt?

They'll survive just fine.

Anonymous said...

Ted Byfield has a good article in the Calgary Sun today on this very issue.

www.calgarysun.com

el said...

I would like to table another perspective. Once a law is passed the small proportion of the population that rallied for the law then have a free reign to alter what is taught in schools. Court challenges ensue to change curriculum's to keep them current with the latest ruling. In fact some school boards jump on the band wagon before the court cases happen just to stay ahead of the game. Once again ( so liberal) minority rules. Maybe governments should offer a tax break to parents who don't want their children taught in a schools riding the slippery slope sled. Why should families not have the right to an even keeled education for there children. Having courts drive cultural change is like having orthopedic surgeons doing brain surgery. They know a lot but not a lot about what they are being asked to do and for sure don't know about the outcome!!!!
A Dad.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jeff - gay marriage has not increased the homosexual population in canada to my knowledge. what makes you think there's a whole group of canucks waiting to go all polygamous?

My question is why keep a law on the books that is unenforceable?

Anon - 1/. Will both of the current parents have to be in agreement to add another parent or will one parent be able to petition the cout to add another?

That question is particular is one that I would like to hear answered.

Anon at Sun Jan 07, 11:57:16 AM EST - Thanks for the tip. I'll update this post with that link. Much appreciated.

El - Once a law is passed the small proportion of the population that rallied for the law then have a free reign to alter what is taught in schools. So true. As an acquaintance of mine often says, the law is the teacher. Once we have something entrenched in law, then attitudes must be reshaped accordingly in the public education system.

So to shrug your shoulders and say, "As long as it doesn't affect me" is selfish and spineless.

Red Tory said...

Spinks/Anon/Other Assorted Wingnuts -- Allow me to summarize your position: “Won’t someone think about the children!!!!”

Look, parental arrangements within the “traditional” structure of marriage can get pretty complex, multifaceted and utterly convoluted given that divorce is such a common mainstay of this vaunted establishment, so this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I tend to agree with that lawyer who weighed in the other day in the National Post who said “a pox on both your houses” (vis-à-vis the gay and straight communities) as her assessment of the situation was quite sensible.

No it isn’t a big deal. Society isn’t going to rack and ruin, nor are we “free falling” into moral decay and utter depravity. Such irrational, paranoiac fears are as old as the hills, but are usually borne out over time to be silly, baseless fear-mongering when all is said and done. So relax. The folks in question have a stable, long-term relationship with all concerned involved in the kid’s life in a positive way and really isn’t that what families are all about?

Cherniak_WTF said...

Red, the way I see it Jesus was born from some weird mixed married thing...
Mary never had sex with Joseph and some sperm donor made little baby Jesus. Talk about a dysfunctional family...

So Jesus, how many parent do you have?
- We'll there is sky Daddy, mommy and Joseph daddy...
ohh and my brother well, he's only got two parents...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

CWTF - A little irreverant, but at least you're not an atheist.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The folks in question have a stable, long-term relationship with all concerned involved in the kid’s life in a positive way and really isn’t that what families are all about?

If those are the criteria, why exclude even more "parents" that can offer increased stability and love and so on? And why not let all those 'parents' be married and live together?

Cherniak_WTF said...

Thanks Joanne, I was not sure if I was stepping over the line. I was brought up RC and glad to say never abused by priests....

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I was brought up RC and glad to say never abused by priests

Me too. Some pretty strict nuns though.

I don't quite agree with your take on the Immaculate Conception, but hopefully we'll both understand the mystery some day. ;)

Cherniak_WTF said...

I just hope that Madonna the singer has nothing to do with Immaculate Conception....

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Now Madonna would be someone I would ban from this blog.

Spinks said...

Ah red tory, I can always tell when someone has no argument when they resort to name calling as a way to silence or discredit opposition. It's a neat bullying tactic but I never really cared for bullies.

However you raise a great point with the Helen Lovejoy a la Simpsons quote. Someone actually should think of the children. To dismiss them from the equation and merely focus on adult wants and needs is highly irresponsible of any society. This is one of those rare situations when France actually got it right when they took a look at kids and dismissed SSM for those reasons. While I can understand the romantic notion behind the idea, there are lots of other effects that should have been considered when Paul Martin and the Liberals decided to allow the Courts to redefine marriage into something only two other countires at the time had done with limited study as to how it may turn out. Again, an irresponsible social experiment with potentially far reaching reprecussions.

Anonymous said...

jeff davidson: There are millions of muslims living in Canada now that would probably love to be able to have more then one wife like they could in there old country. With this law on the books we have to allow it now.

William E. Demers said...

Just as it is being taught in schools now that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality, will it become the case that polygamy is as normal as monogamy?

Anonymous said...

Bountiful has existed for more than fifty years. The polygamous community there existed well before gay marriage, or three legal parents, or sanctioned swinging. Polygamy there has not been prosecuted for the sole reason that it would never survive a Charter challenge based on religious freedoms. You know, those you want to see enshrined in DORA legislation.

The sky is not falling.

Anonymous said...

I just realized that the old marriage law was genious (2 opposite sex partners)and made polygamy impossible. If you couldn't marry a same sex partner then polygamy would be impossible because there's no combination of 3 that can make 3 opposite sexes. (2 of the people are always going to be the same sex no matter how you arrange it) With the liberals blundering to buy votes they really have opened up a can of worms that's going to haunt us soon.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Polygamy there has not been prosecuted for the sole reason that it would never survive a Charter challenge based on religious freedoms.

So why is it still illegal? It makes a mockery of the judicial system.

Red Tory said...

For the life of me I really don't know what many of you people are on about with this so-called issue. Joanne most desperately wants to ski down the slippery slope (is it the lack of snow there Jo, that's compelling you this way?) but I don't see what tragic outcomes await at the bottom of the hill. It's kind of like the gay marriage thing that was going to destroy the traditional institution of one man, one woman... Well, did it? Seems to be alive and kicking from what I can tell. Has YOUR marriage been imperilled by it? No, I didn't think so. Put this one to bed, it's tired.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Red, you obviously didn't read the post. I said that the slippery slope argument is invalid.

Red Tory said...

I know you said that, but your comments would seem to indicate otherwise. You sooooo want to go down that slippery slope.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Red, my actual point was that I cannot find any logical argument supporting the idea of keeping polygamy on the books as a criminal act. Can you?

Red Tory said...

Polygamy is one of those social abnormalities that should probably never have been criminalized in the first place. Personally, I find it to be a ridiculous concept that will always be the exception rather than the rule, no matter what because it makes little sense. There are definitely aspects about it that are troubling, for example the creepy religious “brainwashing” that seems to go along with it, and the fact that the women involved often seem to be naïve, socially retarded and unfairly exploited by a controlling patriarch. It bothers me that it’s often fallaciously used by some social conservatives as being the inevitable outcome of any tinkering with “traditional” marriage because this notion is just absurd in my opinion. Your post sends kind of a mixed message -- at least the way I read it. On the one hand you are advocating taking polygamy off the books as a crime, but on the other, you’re happily promoting this silly fear-mongering idea of an unrestricted moral free fall.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

On the one hand you are advocating taking polygamy off the books as a crime, but on the other, you’re happily promoting this silly fear-mongering idea of an unrestricted moral free fall.

Ah, thank you for saying that. You see, my point is that although I personally do not condone polygamy, I feel that there is no longer any justification to have it listed as a criminal offence.

If there is anyone out there who feels they can still make a case for polygamy to remain illegal, I would like to ask them to state their case.

Red Tory said...

I find it morally reprehensible (and moreover silly) but I'm not quite sure where you're going with this...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW Red, I have a question for you. No one has ever been able to answer to my satisfaction - Can you think of any reason at all why co-habiting same-sex siblings should be denied the legal benefits and rights of same-sex couples, regardless of whether or not they have some sort of sexual relationship?

There was a challenge by two co-habiting British sisters recently in this light. Not sure how it all ended up.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

but I'm not quite sure where you're going with this...

You're avoiding the question. I'm talking about a logical argument.

Red Tory said...

I thought I'd already answered your question by stating that it's one of those things that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place. There are a lot of things that I find objectionable, but don't need to be regarded as criminal in nature.

Red Tory said...

Joanne -- Why do I get the feeling that you want someone to come out and make a case for polygamy on legal grounds? Perhaps so that you can then cut them off at the knees with some devastating counter argument? If so, sorry, but you’re barking up the wrong tree with me. I’m very traditional in nature, but have no problem with gay marriage (I’m all for sharing the misery) or certain exceptional circumstances as presented by this particular case in Ontario of the two mothers and a biological father. Again, you seem to be a little bit coy about this and I’m not sure where you’re headed with this line of inquiry.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I thought I'd already answered your question by stating that it's one of those things that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place.

O.K. then. Do you agree that it should be decriminalized?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Why do I get the feeling that you want someone to come out and make a case for polygamy on legal grounds?

I am challenging anyone to make a case as to why we should continue to keep polygamy on the books as a criminal offense.

BTW, "coy" is certainly one of the nicer adjectives you've ever used to describe me.

Red Tory said...

Given that I've said that it shouldn't have been criminalized in the first instance, then it naturally follows that I think it should be de-criminalized. The law in this case serves little purpose and is rarely, if ever, enforced. I'm sure there are other statutes to address some of the tertiary concerns related to polygamy that would suffice to protect the rights of those engaged in these kinds of relationships.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

O.K. So we're both somewhat in agreement on the fact that there is no good reason to keep it a criminal offense.

What about my other question - about the same-sex siblings? Any thoughts in the context of an argument; not a derisive put-down?

Red Tory said...

You would need to be more specific in outlining a hypothetical case. I'm not going to rack my sorry little brain trying to vector all of the possible implications. You also need to define the terms of the discourse more clearly. "What... about the same-sex siblings? I'm not sure what exactly this means (beyond the plaintive Helen Lovejoy angle). Perhaps you can clarify for me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Red, it was with reference to my earlier question at 06:10:06 AM EST:

Can you think of any reason at all why co-habiting same-sex siblings should be denied the legal benefits and rights of same-sex couples, regardless of whether or not they have some sort of sexual relationship?

There was a challenge by two co-habiting British sisters recently in this light. Not sure how it all ended up.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Just found a link to the case (second item). Looks like they lost the challenge and will have to pay court fees as well as a crushing inheritance tax when one of them dies. I guess they would have to be a romantic couple to qualify.

Anonymous said...

Your tolerance is amazing Jo.....
The quality of debate seems to be getting a little more thoughtful.... well most of it anyway.
I offer you this link.....

http://www.womanhonorthyself.com/

liberal supporter said...

You might see a maximum of four parents listed on a birth certificate.

Two of the parents would be the biological parents, as is the case in the so called "three parents". The other two would be adoptive parents. Or if one adoptive parent is raising the child with one of the biological parents, then you have the three parent situation.

Such a situation only arises where all the parties are cooperating. The usual situation has the biological parents completely out of the picture, except when jailed, such as the woman who "kidnapped" her twin 17 month olds. Though she is legally in the wrong, it seems she agreed to the adoption hastily and claims she changed her mind ah hour after all was signed.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Your tolerance is amazing Jo. My tolerance of RT? ;)

Yes, I think we are all behaving ourselves admirably today.

The link was interesting. Thanks. I liked the part about 'Freedom from religion' rather than 'freedom of religion'. That rather nails it.

L.S. - O.K. Four parents is the limit then.

Could I have that in writing from a judge please?

Zac said...

I wouldn't mind having more than 1 wife.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, maybe you should start with one first. ;)

Zac said...

Meh, perhaps. But who wants to get married anyways?

Red Tory said...

I'm feeling a bit dull today, but there's something about the expression "co-habiting same-sex siblings" that just boggles my mind. I think I'd rather go count the number of sprinkles on a doughnut than contemplate this rather bizarre concept.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But who wants to get married anyways?

Yeah. It's highly over-rated.

Zac said...

Yeah. It's highly over-rated.

Im on the phone to your husband right now.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac - lol! My own marriage excepted of course. ;)

Anonymous said...

I would be more in favour of doing away with marriage as a government institution altogether. I don't see why anybody wants or needs governmnt permission to have sex or decide the configuration of their families. It's much ado about nothing.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tanya, yeah I agree. The government should get out of the marriage business.