A few days ago, I was looking through the sidebar at Juvenile Instructor when I saw that a link to a new reality TV show on TLC about polygamy. I was understandably excited. For those of you who don’t know me, I am addicted to reality TV. It began with Flavor of Love, continued through I Love New York and Rock of Love, and I’m 16 and Pregnant. The trashier the better. The link also played into my interest in polygamy and the ways that individuals negotiate relationships in such marriages.
In my excitement, I posted a link to the new TLC show Sister Wives on my Facebook show.
I was surprised at the number of comments that my status update received. Most of the concerns surrounding the show surrounded its legality. One friend, however, brought up the possible connection between it and other alternative lifestyles. As someone who supports gay marriage, she felt that she had to be accepting of polygamy as long as everyone in the relationship consented and there was no abuse of women or children. In the end, it was her position that seemed to win out. It will be interesting to see if similar debates arise in the United States as the TV show airs and as debates surrounding gay marriage continue.
The issue is a live one in Canada. Last year, the Canadian government charged a man living in British Columbia with violating the polygamy ban. His lawyers are challenging the constitutionality of the polygamy ban. Right now, the issue is undecided. And, as the last article points out, the issue extends far beyond fundamentalist Mormons. Some immigrants from Islamic countries are legally married to more than one spouse in their home countries and continue such relationships when they arrive in Canada. Their profile is much lower than the fundamentalist Mormons in British Columbia but the law theoretically affects their lives just as much as it does anyone else.
Description of the case: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1423616
Recent news article on its progression from the Montreal Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Polygamy+troubling+implications+society/3296353/story.html
Polygamy in Canada: http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070625_106285_106285
I’m not sure what is going to happen with either the TV show or the case against the polygamists in British Columbia, but I’ll be following both as closely as I can.
Note: The most recent thing I could find on the case of the Canadian polygamists was the Montreal Gazette article. If anyone has anything newer, please let me know.