Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chamberlin & Guiora: "Polygamy: Not 'Big Love' But Significant Harm"

 Julia Chamberlin and  Amos N. Guiora posted "Polygamy: Not 'Big Love' But Significant Harm," Women's Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers University School of Law (2014 Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In this article, we analyze the British Columbia Supreme Court decision, Reference re: Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, 2011 BCSC 1588, which decisively found that polygamy as practiced by The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) constitutes a crime of harm. We focus on polygamy in the FLDS religion; to that end, we incorporate and analyze religious scripture, court testimony, interviews conducted with former FLDS members and relevant scholarship. In exploring the relationship between polygamy and the FLDS culture, we also examine child brides and lost boys; the former constitutes statutory rape and the latter is child endangerment and abandonment in the name of religious extremism. We concur with the British Columbia Supreme Court decision that polygamy constitutes a crime of harm, and in that vein we call on law enforcement officials, prosecutors and courts to recognize their responsibility to protect crimes victims. Polygamy is not abstract, but it is a concrete crime with clear consequences for those forced to participate in it.


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