Blame Canada.
January 28, 2005 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Same-sex marriages in Canada may be coming soon, but that's nothing. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it's OK to masturbate in front of your windows! (Full ruling here, previous mefi discussion here.) The Conservatives in Canada worry that all this moral decadence may lead to polygamy, but Canada's had a polygamist community for some time now. Still, the government does seem to be examining the issue. Meanwhile, parents in Atlantic Canada are outraged their children are learning about mutual masturbation and oral sex. What's next -- adults-only barbershops? Oh, wait....
posted by showmethecalvino (52 comments total)

The details of the indecency case in the masturbation link are just ridiculous. Wow.

The trial judge concluded he had "converted" his living room into a public place and the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the conviction. Clark had been sentenced to four months in jail for wilfully performing an indecent act.

Four months. For jacking off. In his own living room. I love the details of the case itself, as the neighbours, the police, heck the whole neighbourhood struggle desperately to watch this man pleasure himself. The neighbours even tried to tape it, but failed(?). Meanwhile, "Clark had no idea he was being watched, the court found." Poor bitch. And finally:

they feared Clark was "masturbating to our children." Won't someone please think of the children??
posted by mek at 5:32 AM on January 28, 2005

I this level of sex education really new? I grew up in Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia) many moons ago and our sex education classes were as graphic or more graphic than those described. We would have open discussions of the various ways in which we could pleasure our partners and ourselves as early as grade 7. For prudes like me it as an absolute agony but there was never any outcry from parents. Why now?
posted by pookzilla at 5:32 AM on January 28, 2005

What's interesting is how this compares to/contrasts with the often extreme conservative views on sex and sex education in the USA. I can easily imagine many Canadians yawning when they read these articles.

I'm more interested in the USA's take on Canada's decisions. Not much out there yet...
posted by sninky-chan at 5:51 AM on January 28, 2005

I live in Canada and I know it's not legal to masturbate in front of your windows. In that specific case a man was masturbating in his house at night with the lights on and the curtains open. He didn't realise people were watching him until a cop shone his flashlight through the window.

posted by disgruntled at 6:06 AM on January 28, 2005

"Is this level of sex education really new? I grew up in Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia) many moons ago..."

I think the original trial judge decided that this was part of the problem.
posted by Mike D at 6:16 AM on January 28, 2005

I'll put my vote in for fairly explicit sex-ed being rather aged in Canada (ew! I just calculated the number of actual years since I had my first sex ed class and it was almost 20!), although I'm in Ontario. I credit sex-ed with my complete unwillingness to have unprotected sex or sex with a near-stranger (ie. someone I picked up in a bar). I saw Sue Johanson the other day on Monday Report, and she said that the difference between her Canadian callers and her American callers is mainly that Canadians have a better knowledge of the basics of safe sex. Yay! sex ed!
posted by carmen at 6:54 AM on January 28, 2005

Yeah, I went to high school in Ontario and in our sex ed class we had to memorize how effective every possible form of contraception was, and then we learned about abusive relationships and rape prevention.
I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom that was really, really useful.
posted by ITheCosmos at 6:58 AM on January 28, 2005

Yup, why would anybody have a problem with graphic sex ed classes? We all grew up with them, and while there was the obvious snicker factor, at least we are knowledgeable about how STDs are transmitted, among other things. Most of us who paid attention know, for example, that you can still get pregnant even if you close your eyes. And that the withdrawal or methods aren't exactly the most reliable forms of birth control. And hell, the whole condom-practice thing was VERY useful for me the first time it became necessary. If my kids don't get the same kind of teaching in school, they're going to get it from me, that's for damn sure.
posted by antifuse at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2005

(that should be withdrawal or rhythm methods)
posted by antifuse at 7:01 AM on January 28, 2005

Everybody sing:

My body's
body but mine!
You can have your body
Let me
have mine!

posted by carmen at 7:03 AM on January 28, 2005

The Conservatives in Canada worry that all this moral decadence may lead to polygamy

Yikes! Then Canada will be home to moral degenerates in the tradition of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David, all of whom were polygamists, and Jesus, who apparently thought it was normal.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:05 AM on January 28, 2005

I've always been of the opinion that if you look in someone else's windows that you get what you ask for. After all, behind someone's window is always someone else's home. If we can't do what we want in our own home, then where can we do it? Whether the curtains are open or not is irrelevant; no one forces people to look inside someone else's windows.

I used to go for daily walks with my roommate and we lived in a very nice neighborhood. I always loved casually looking inside people's windows from the sidewalk (on public property) as we walked past and seeing how people decorated and what kind of artwork they had hanging on the walls.

I remember one time I said to my friend, "Hey, look in that house over there." The windows were wide open and the window was at street level, but my friend refused to look. He said, "Don't you know, you shouldn't look in people's windows, its rude." I thought he was crazy; after all, these windows were at street level with the curtains wide open and lights on at night. They were begging to be looked into.

Nonetheless, even though the windows were 'begging' to be looked into, I would never have complained if I had seen someone engaging in some 'indiscreet' activity. Of course, I'm no prude and would have been titillated. That's beside the point, however. I realized I was looking into someone else's private space. If I had seen something I objected to, I only had myself to blame for looking in their window to begin with.
posted by PigAlien at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2005

"Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it's OK to masturbate in front of your windows!"

Oh, the potential for humor here... where are The Kids in the Hall when you need them?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2005

"Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it's OK to masturbate in front of your windows!"

In other news, Canadian sales of Windex and squeegees skyrocket.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 AM on January 28, 2005

where are The Kids in the Hall when you need them?!

You've confused cross-dressers with wankers.

I think it is a good ruling. Otherwise, you will have to start worrying about whether it is indecent for you to have sex while the Infra-red scanning pot-copters are overhead. And don't even get me started on the satellites...
posted by srboisvert at 7:33 AM on January 28, 2005

From the link... Sandra Byers, chairwoman of the Psychology Department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton says "The choice is between them having incorrect information and correct information."

Well, if you remember the Waxman report than you know on what side of that decision the Bush administration has come down.
posted by patnasty at 7:41 AM on January 28, 2005

Something I've been wondering about for years is, why is everyone so paranoid about polygamy? True, in some parts of the world, marriage laws or customs are so inequitable that ending polygamy as it currently exists there can be considered a civil rights issue. But somehow, I don't think that's what people are frothing at the mouth about when they insist that gay marriage absolutely will (or positively won't) lead to group marriage. Either way, what's the big deal?

I've long been an advocate of the legalization of pretty much every kind of adult consensual sex, including incest, so I'm well aware my views aren't shared by most. But I really don't get what everyone's so worked up about.
posted by kyrademon at 7:46 AM on January 28, 2005

I really don't get what everyone's so worked up about

Interesting question, I'm not too worked up myself but looked at logically it would seem to create some problems. At base, because it makes material wealth more important than relationships.

If I can afford two wives then some other guy out there is living alone. (Since the numbers of men and women are more or less equal) Don't see how this is a good thing for the other guy or society at large. I like the idea most guys out there have women in their lives to moderate their behavior.

If I have multiple wives I have to time-share my emotional relationship time with them. Don't see how this is especially good for the wives. Most everyone needs and wants regular personal attention, and I don't mean just sex.

If I have many more children than otherwise possible I have even less time to spend with each child than kids get already. Common sense, religion, and science all agree this wouldn't be good.

And etc.
posted by scheptech at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2005

Well, there are solid arguments against legally recognizing polygamy. It would fuck with a lot of the practical aspects of legal marriage: taxation, inheritance, child custody, and so on. Of course, those aren't insurmountable arguments, but legalizing polygamy would mean a lot of changes and a lot of new loopholes. That makes it easier to argue against than, for instance, gay marriage, which really wouldn't change much from a legal point of view.

On preview: Also what scheptech said. Again, not insurmountable arguments, just good reasons why legal polygamy would be a bigger change than legal gay marriage.

(Now, I'm not the sort of person to froth at the mouth about polygamy or gay marriage -- really, I'd like to see both legalized -- so this is just a guess. For the real answer, you'd have to ask the frothers themselves why they find polygamy so froth-worthy.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:50 AM on January 28, 2005

-- Still, the government does seem to be examining the issue.

Yes. They are examining it for the BC government in regards to the polygamous community that exists in the BC Interior. Sorry but the federal gov't has already dismissed this red herring.
posted by pixelgeek at 8:59 AM on January 28, 2005

scheptech and nebulawindphone - I don't so much disagree with the potential problems you bring up as think they are problems which are fairly easy to work around (I'll only discuss how if anyone's really interested.) But, as nebulawindphone points out, that kind of rational examination isn't exactly what I was talking about (I'm moderately confident that if the idea of group marriage was examined purely rationally, no one would have any problems with at least some forms of it.) It doesn't exactly lead to the panicked "THIS WILL LEAD TO POLYGAMY!!!!" response. I don't think there's a thought pattern which goes, "Well, such a radical re-envisioning of marriage would call for a substantial reworking of the tax code, WHICH MEANS WE'S ALL GONNA DIE!!!"

Eh. Probably it's just another religious thing, like gay marriage. I guess I'm just surprised since I've heard the rhetoric against it coming from both the right and the left.
posted by kyrademon at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2005

I think people enjoy being pissed off and scandalized. An anonymous note (please close your curtains when you jack-off) would have resolved the masturbating neighbour crisis, but no, they wanted to video tape it and prove to the court what victims they were.

I don't have much more sympathy for parents. You want your kids to abstain from sex-- talk to them about it. I for one would like my kid to know about common sexual activities-- what the risks are, hell what they are-- before he or she had to hit the streets for info.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:06 AM on January 28, 2005

Why do conservatives think that gay marriage is a straight line to polygamy, bestiality and young kids marring? Of course, the US Constitution already prevents people marrying from animals because animals are not protected by the US Constitution.

Honestly, I want to know the mind set.
posted by Bag Man at 9:12 AM on January 28, 2005

Well . . . I've actually always thought that the argument that legalizing gay marriage isn't a step towards also legalizing group marriage is a little disingenuous. It won't *necessarily* lead to it, but full legal recognition that civil marriage and religious marriage are entities that can be regarded as quite separate does open the door for a general examination of other alternative marriage forms. If civil marriage becomes regarded as, say, a legal creation of family relationship with another adult (most akin to adoption, the process for doing so with a minor, in terms of institutions with similar purposes), then it's entirely possible to raise the question, why can't you declare as many family members as is useful and practical?

Marriage to animals and minors, however, are actually entirely different subjects legally, since that's about one legal adult declaring a marital familial relationship with someone without similar legal powers - a power imbalance that can easily be twisted into rape and forced marriage. Conservatives like to equate "consensual" marriages with "nonconsensual" marriages like those because they're either trying to obscure the issue or de facto label all as equally "sinful".
posted by kyrademon at 9:25 AM on January 28, 2005

Besides the minor blocks to polygamy brought up before, I don’t see any really serious problems on a biological level from gay marriage or polygamy. In fact, most non-traditional forms of sex are basically harmless.

The only two areas that really should remain against the law are bestiality and incest. Bestiality causes a lot of pain and harm to the animals involved, and many die afterwards. Incest leads to a lot of dangerous genetic abnormalities, and can lead to psychological problems for young children.
posted by Nematoda at 10:02 AM on January 28, 2005

I've read the sort of bullshit these supposed "victims" cough up, and I have to say, it's bewildering.

If you're being victimized by looking at something, your first reaction is to pick up a video camera and film it so you can be later victimized again? Whuh?

It's like the attempted assault report I read, where the person at the end says they went to get counselling but doesn't mention receiving any (I wonder why... If only I were on the other side of the counsellor's table at that point!)

Stuff like this just makes me less and less inclined to think any part of the government is useful. All these moronic laws against soft crime, like seeing things you don't like, or against having to put up with someone who is swearing at you and shaking their fists. Stupid. Time to clean up the law books and go back to the basics: Battery, Robbery, Murder.
posted by shepd at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2005

Actually, I've always found the evidence that single-generation inbreeding causes dangerous genetic abnormalities to be dubious at best. Problems like that only crop up with long-term, multi-generational inbreeding practices (royal families and such like), and there are ways to avoid even that.

Talking about inbreeding and incest as the same thing also confuses the issue; they are not the same, and if genetic abnormalities are a real concern then there is no reason to criminalize incest, only inbreeding.

If you'd explain what you mean about psychological problems, I'd appreciate it - not sure what you're getting at with that.

I'd add sex with children to the list of areas that should remain against the law.
posted by kyrademon at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2005

> Why do conservatives think that gay marriage is a straight line to polygamy, bestiality and young kids marring?

Because, Bag Man, Stephen Harper is a hot head. Some people (like me) like that. He's not actually stupid enough to believe that, of course, It's just his inner feeling surfacing before his brain engages.

Before you say "Why would you want that?", out of the choice of well thought out lies like "I WILL REPEAL THE GST" and someone just blurting out their gut feelings, I always go with number 2. At least you can guess the direction they're headed in, even if it isn't perfect.
posted by shepd at 10:15 AM on January 28, 2005

Well in practical terms as far as connecting gay marriage thru polygamy thru minor marriage and on thru to animal marriage perhaps we can:

Toss the idea of animal and minor marriage as extremely unlikely to happen. Who is actually going to try and make this happen. Whatever weird legal contortions the system may go thru trying to reconcile it all, ultimately the majority of voters will get what they want and don't want.

And the idea of polygamy as quite unlikely to take hold for a lot of obvious practical reasons but mostly because there is no real constituency for it either. Indeed it is interesting that neither left nor right finds this a great idea.

And public sex of any kind, do we really need to discuss this seriously as a social issue? Actually I'm not sure why the post includes this is the same issues list, it's a different thing from the other issues.

So the only practically likely thing under discussion is gay marriage. What's wrong with proposing a 'civil union', in other words some contractual arrangement between two (2) grown-up (adult) people (human beings)keeping the concept sitting squarely where it belongs, in the legal sphere. Then, politicians may do what they think will get them the most votes, if it happens the churches may bless these unions or not at their own discretion, and people in general can support the politicians and churches who have the best handle on what people really want.

It may be worth noting that Paul Martin (Canadian PM) has said he'll stake his government on the issue of gay marriage. Whether he actually does or not should be interesting to see.
posted by scheptech at 10:34 AM on January 28, 2005

"And the idea of polygamy as quite unlikely to take hold . . . mostly because there is no real constituency for it either."

posted by kyrademon at 10:42 AM on January 28, 2005

If I have multiple wives I have to time-share my emotional relationship time with them. Don't see how this is especially good for the wives.

This argument could also be used against having more than one chilld. Seems kind of weak.
posted by majcher at 10:47 AM on January 28, 2005

The argument against having more than one 'l' in 'child', however, is a completely valid one.
posted by majcher at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2005

The woman moved to another room for a better view, then called her husband. The pair watched Clark for up to 15 minutes from the privacy of their darkened bedroom. The court found they took care to avoid being seen by Clark, peering out from underneath their partially lowered blinds. Later, the woman's husband fetched a pair of binoculars and a telescope. He also tried, nsuccessfully, to videotape Clark in action...

posted by Zurishaddai at 11:00 AM on January 28, 2005

The woman moved to another room for a better view, then called her husband. The pair watched Clark for up to 15 minutes from the privacy of their darkened bedroom.

I've tried numerous times to observe my neighbours for lewd behaviour when they are in their hot tub. Unfortunately the only complaints I've been able to list are questionable taste in regards to a speedo swimsuit and unsavour pasty white skin. Monitoring for developments...
posted by smcniven at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2005

There are many forms of polygamy which exist in North America today. The most well-known is the religious type in Utah and B.C., but there is also the whole "polyamory" (side note: I hate that word with a deep, visceral passion) movement. The most common, of course, is "serial polygamy," in which a person has multiple spouses over the course of a lifetime, but only one at a time.

Incest leads to a lot of dangerous genetic abnormalities

(I know I'm going off topic here, but I can't resist) This statement as written doesn't make sense, and as intended is just not true.

As written it doesn't make sense because incest is different in different places. Many of us are probably incestuous by Nuer standards, which require couples to have no common genitors for 8 or 9 generations. 10th cousins or so start becoming acceptable. I don't know about you, but I couldn't identify a 3rd cousin, let alone a 10th one.

As it is meant, which is of course in the genetic sense, the statement is false. Close genetic reproduction has been the standard in human evolution. In any species it leads to a loss of genetic diversity and an increase in the expression of recessive traits. Neither of these is innately harmful, although they can lead to susceptibility to disease and high frequencies of harmful recessive traits.
posted by carmen at 12:34 PM on January 28, 2005

Poly relationships pop up all over in RAH's writings. Interesting reading because he seems to have given lots of thought to the business side of poly marriage from two guys married to a single woman all the way up to a line marriage with 20 members from ages 15 to 130. Not to say some arrangements weren't a little squicky.

Bestiality causes a lot of pain and harm to the animals involved, and many die afterwards.

Others have questioned your incest statement so I'll call out this one. However icky beastiality is I can't see the "many die afterwords" unless the animal is a chicken or something. Mind you I'd bet there aren't a whole lot of stats on the practice. Isn't the usual animal a sheep or a dog?
posted by Mitheral at 12:59 PM on January 28, 2005

I can't believe the Canadian government is still pissing around with the gay marriage issue. The Supreme Court has decided: gay marriage=constitutional right. Does anyone actually think that objections are going to stand up over the long term? What this means for other forms of marriage is completely irrelevant. We can address each issue as it comes up, but this one is decided.
posted by carmen at 1:16 PM on January 28, 2005

why is everyone so paranoid about polygamy?

I think any community that is closed off from the rest of the world is eyed suspiciously. Some women who have fled Bountiful are complaining that there is incest, rape, physical and sexual abuse going on in the community as well as cross border trafficking of females who are between 13 and 16 years old. The Attorney General tried bring charges against 2 men from Creston back in the 90's when women from the community questioned why polygamy was being ignored by the police. It wasn't civil rights that squashed the charges it was, religious freedom. Crown Counsel followed some advice saying that it would create a charter challenge to lay charges against these 2 men and it has been a stale mate ever since. The federal justice ministry in the past has said it would back any charges laid against the men. Bountiful is an extension of the polygamous group that is based in Utah and the man initially appointed to lead the group was appointed by the Utah branch. The group also receives funding (about $500,000 a year) to educate the children but some (BC Civil Liberties Assoc.) have argued that the education doesn't meet the provincial standard and there are allegations that racism is being taught in the schools.
posted by squeak at 2:07 PM on January 28, 2005

Squeak, I wasn't talking about the way that particular group is regarded, but the apparent reaction of the general population to the very concept of group marriage.

To be clear, I am strongly in favor of the legalization of group civil marriage, and entirely against child marriage, forced marriage, lopsided polygamy (e.g. men can marry multiple women but not vice-versa), and inequitable divorce laws as in the Middle East, and I am deeply suspicious of charismatic, isolationist cults.
posted by kyrademon at 2:55 PM on January 28, 2005

Bountiful BC is a very scary little community of abusive, pedophilic, cult indoctrinating bullshit. The only reason the ringleaders haven't been put into prison is that our government is too chickenshit to challenge "religious" organizations.

The truth about Bountiful has been slowly leaking out of the encampment, more so now that some of the women have escaped it. But by the time the provincial government grows a pair, the sicko culprits will have split.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:58 PM on January 28, 2005

What's with all this "religious rights" stuff I keep on hearing about? I should start a religion that arbitrarily believes stealing is good, and then challenge the government when it tries to make stealing illegal.

Those fuckers!

There is a lot of theoretical nonsense going on in this thread, but is there really any sort of movement out there to legalize incest or group marriage? None of that is even comparable to the adventures of the gay rights movement over the course of history.

Honestly, what's with this incest crap? What the hell? Where are the legions of brother/sister lovers who are being kept from tender loving by the man? What siblings want to fuck each other? That's goddamn absurd. The only incest that ever really goes down is in tentacle anime sub-genres and abusive homes.

As for "group marriage"... who wants a group marriage? Who are these people? Nobody wants to share their spouse with somebody else. The Ottawa Citizen had something in there about how 2% of the population might be up for that. But would they? Honestly, who are these people? These are just the most random ideas ever. I bet I could find two percent of the population that would like to legalize a lot of stuff.

BEASTIALITY? What sane person thinks that beastiality will ever be legalized because of gay marriage? Let's try to stop snorting coke off our five-year old sister wives for two seconds. Animals cannot give consent. You cannot have sex with them. Thanks.

Except for those talking Disney animals. Wow, who wouldn't like to get into a fur-suit and yiff one of those, eh? Alllriiight~!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:21 PM on January 28, 2005

Let's try to stop snorting coke off our five-year old sister wives for two seconds.

Try as I may, I can only make it for 1.5 seconds. Tips?
posted by squirrel at 6:43 PM on January 28, 2005

Wow, Kleptophoria. Thanks for dismissing my life so . . . dsimissively. Before you pointed it out to me, I had no idea that nonharmful, consensual practices should only be legal if a *large number* of people want to do it. I guess that explains why, I don't know, water polo, and third stream jazz, and studying cabybara biology are all illegal activities. Who wants to do that kind of thing, anyway? Freaks.

"Honestly, who are these people?"

Yeah, that would be me. It's not all theoretical for some of us.

(Agree with you about bestiality, anyhow. Haven't come to a conclusion yet about zoophilia, though. Sex with a pet seems like implicit rape, but if, say, a wild dolphin was clearly coming onto me - sometimes they do, apparently - the moral harm of a hand job does elude me.)
posted by kyrademon at 8:00 PM on January 28, 2005

Actually, Mitheral, some people have researched bestiality, and it does indeed inflict pain onto the animals and can result in death.

I’ll leave the incest comments to those people who know about it more than I do.
posted by Nematoda at 8:27 PM on January 28, 2005

squirrel, you shake the girl-spouse around a bit, and usually the stuff slides all over the place. This breaks the spell momentarily, and you can usually gain composure for up to a half minute after that.

And hit show The OC proves that waterpolo is very popular these days.

Really, I don't get this group marriage thing. So person A falls in love with person B and C. Person B falls in love with person A and C. Person C falls in love with person A and B. Does person A propose to B and C at the same time? If B and C both accept, do they have to propose to each other? What if person B wants person A but person C wants to keep on dating. Is that adultery? How does the dating process work, exactly? Does it count as cheating when you're dating both people? How do you introduce these people to each other? Have you gone through this process? How many groups are like this in the West? How does the legality work out?

See, I've never heard of this happening in a state of equality, so it could very well be that I'm just being an ignorant cunt. Which is possible. But it all sounds very hypothetical, sort of like incest involving people of equal status coupling.

Now I'm just curious, really.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 8:46 PM on January 28, 2005

Kleptophoria, I won't say there aren't complications, but it doesn't have to be quite so confusing as all that. The complexity comes from the fact that, if you add one person, you are essentially dealing with four relationships instead of just one - AB, BC, CA, and ABC. But that happens when you have a child, too, and people deal with that just fine.

However, one of the nice things about the relative cultural odddity of it is that there's also a lack of cultural strictures. You get to decide among yourselves what cheating is, and what adultery is, and what marriage is (well, among yourselves, at least - the government tends to have a different opinion.)

Different groups work out different things. We ended up deciding on polyfidelity (sex with anyone within a set group is OK and not cheating, in any combination. sex with anyone outside the group is cheating.) But I know others who handled things differently. I have no idea how many people there are who do this, but I've met a small but very real number of others.

So, I can only talk for myself, but it went along the lines of - established couple meets another person, and all three like each other. Proposition is made, sex happens, dating starts, details are discussed. Time passes, everyone likes the situation, boundaries and rules are solidified. It's not the only way it can happen, but it was pretty straightforward, really.

(As for incest . . . well, yeah, there are often power dynamic issues out the wazoo. But it's not always people who have been raised together, or people of different ages, bear in mind.)
posted by kyrademon at 11:08 PM on January 28, 2005

Before you pointed it out to me, I had no idea that nonharmful, consensual practices should only be legal if a *large number* of people want to do it.

Practically speaking, in a reasonably well-functioning democracy, large numbers of people do in fact have to agree for anything to be illegal. Note I'm saying illegal, not legal. In all the democracys I'm aware of anything is legal unless it is made illegal. It's not the other way around. In my limited understanding certain totalitarian states have had it the other way around wherein small numbers of people decide what will be legal and everything not made legal by them remains illegal.

All alternate marriage arrangements have specfically been made illegal. In essence, large numbers of people had to agree to make them so.

In democratic practice then yes, large numbers of people etc....
posted by scheptech at 11:32 PM on January 28, 2005

Practically speaking, many things that are illegal probably should not be, and many things that are not illegal probably should be. So it goes.

I was just pointing out that simply because something is only desired by a small minority is not, in and of itself, a valid reason for making it illegal.
posted by kyrademon at 12:01 AM on January 29, 2005

Kyrademon it was my mistake, I understand what your position is. In my haste I forgot to separate the sentence, "I think any community that is closed off from the rest of the world is eyed suspiciously" from the rest of what I wrote to try to separate the comment directed at you and one that was made to the general audience.

What's with all this "religious rights" stuff I keep on hearing about?

It (religion) is what has prevented Crown Counsel in the past from prosecuting the men of Bountiful. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects religious expression and the lawyers were worried that any attempt to prosecute the men would result in a charter challenge and ultimately make polygamy legal in Canada. They don't want a charter challenge to happen so they refused to prosecute the men.

Practically speaking, in a reasonably well-functioning democracy, large numbers of people do in fact have to agree for anything to be illegal.

Just enough people to get the bill through the legislature - heh
posted by squeak at 12:18 AM on January 29, 2005

I was wondering.. Does this include all versions of Windows or just XP (with media player) ;-)
posted by gregz72 at 2:35 AM on January 29, 2005

I guess I have to save further comments for that new thread that kyrademon made.

I guess I can see that working out, though if anything, the legalities would be a delight to work with. And also, fuck, two people in a relationship is hard enough.

Also, I sound like a huge jerk most of the time when I post. I may have been intoxicated, but I frankly cannot remember.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2005

's all right, kleptophoria. I've done the same.
posted by kyrademon at 11:26 AM on January 29, 2005

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