We do not as an organization endorse or condone polygamy or plural unions generally. We don’t endorse or support any particular polygamist community. And for that matter, we don’t condone monogamy, celibacy or anything in between. Our message is very simple: Individuals should be free to make the life choices they wish to make, so long as those choices don’t harm other people and they engage with them with free, informed and full consent. …

I think it’s challenging for people to be confronted with choices that are very different from their own and that might initially or continually seem strange or even distasteful. And that’s where it’s key to remember the principle of tolerance, the glue of a pluralistic, democratic society. Part of living in a free and democratic society is being tolerant of the choices other people make, even when those choices might be very different or seem very odd. …

We certainly understand and believe that terrible crimes have been committed against some participants in polygamous relationships and that there is terrible abuse that has occurred in polygamous communities. That, I think, is beyond debate. And certainly those abuses need to be prevented and they warrant the fullest possible redress. But harm can occur in monogamist relationships just as it does in polygamous relationships. …

We’re concerned whenever the state, in our view, unjustifiably seeks to criminalize adult consensual activities that are made freely and with full consent. We think it’s important that there is a voice for people that might be too scared to speak up.

Grace Pastine
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
Interview by Sarah Boesveld
Postmedia News Files

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