Canadian Men Guilty of Polygamy: Statutory ban by 127 year old polygamy law wins over Constitutional Religious freedom
In a landmark ruling, two Canadian men, Winston Blackmore and James Marion Oler, accused of polygamy were put behind bars for 5 years under the 127 year old Canadian Polygamy Law. This is the first conviction under the said law.
Three prosecutors had backed down in past two decades as this law was against the Canadians’ constitutional right to religious freedom.
Rulings by Supreme Court of British Columbia:
In the year 2011, the Supreme court in British Columbia province had in a reference case spoken about the harms of polygamy and had also justified putting limits on such a religious practice. This judgment gave way for the charges to be filed against Blackmore and Oler.
It’s been noted in the ruling by Judge Sheri Ann Donegan of British Columbia Supreme Court that Blackmore did not deny his polygamy.
It was a 12 day trial. The witnesses included Mormon experts, law enforcement officials and Jane Blackmore, former wife of Winston Blackmore. The evidences were collected from the records of marriage at a church compound in Texas in 2008. Justice Donegan found the record and witness Jane Blackmore to be reliable.
It was further stated the Blackmore had confirmed that his marriages were celestial marriages and were in accordance with the rules and practice laid down by FLDS.
Blair Suffredine, representing Blackmore, has stated that if his client would be found guilty, he will challenge the constitutionality of the 127 year old polygamy law.
What is FLDS?
Blackmore and Oler are senior members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). It is a polygamist religious sect. It was a part of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – day Saints, aka the Mormon Church, which abandoned polygamy in 1890.
The FLDS sect is located in the remote mountainous regions of British Columbia near US border. The community, for nearly 60 years now, runs a barter economy and grows or hunts it own food.