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Underage wives wrong, no matter the faith

Sometimes, you just know when something is wrong.

Sometimes, you just know when something is wrong.

And the fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful, B.C., has been wrong for a very long time.

Out there nestled in the Kootenays, sect leader Winston Blackmore has managed to allegedly accumulate an estimated 26 wives (a number of them allegedly 16 or younger when he married them) and 108 children.

There’s nothing new about the Blackmore men folk building herds of wives — they’ve been at it since 1946.

Yet B.C.’s authorities have stood by, wringing their hands, afraid that if they did anything, well, something might happen.

Their worst fear is that, even though polygamy is illegal in Canada, the law hasn’t been tested in modern times, and Blackmore will successfully defend polygamous ways under the Charter of Rights freedom of religion provisions.

Then what do they do? At least one matrimonial enthusiast, Aly Hindy of Toronto, has “blessed” more than 30, um, extra marriages, and he didn’t sound very apologetic in a recent quote: “This is our religion,” he crowed, “and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion.”

Fortunately, Wally Oppal, B.C.’s attorney general, is immune to wedlock mindlock and has had Blackmore and the rest of the Bountiful bulls in his sights since he was appointed in 2005, and on Wednesday, he arrested Blackmore.

I don’t care if you believe, as the members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its various splinter groups do, in the doctrine of plural marriage.

I do care if you allegedly groom young girls by brainwashing them from birth, then parcel them out like gold medals for good behaviour. I do care that they have absolutely no say in the matter.

In short, whatever you believe, it’s wrong to force, through some spurious authority, your beliefs on those who are underaged, innocent, weak.

– Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting.

 
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