Thanks to MJS
Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category
This blog BEGAN as a joke repository when Yahoo360 went belly-up.
My wife and I walked past a swanky new restaurant last night.
“Did you smell that food?” she asked. “Incredible!”
Being the nice guy I am, I thought, “What the heck, I’ll treat her!”
So we walked past it again.
Thanks to JC
2 more days allotted for Senate bill that explicitly requires consent for marriage, bars marriage under 16
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has limited debate on proposed legislation it named the “barbaric cultural practices” bill. The legislation would make it illegal for anyone under 16 to get married and block anyone in a polygamist relationship from immigrating to Canada.
The government has limited debate on proposed legislation to make child marriages and forced marriages illegal.
The Conservatives moved a time-allocation motion Thursday morning to cut off debate on the proposed “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” after three days of debate at its current stage. The bill was first debated on Feb. 17.
MPs were debating the bill when the motion passed, leaving Monday, March 23, as the final day of debate at second reading. The House will vote on the bill that evening before it is expected to go to a committee for further study.
Thursday is the second last day of the sitting before MPs go on a one-week House break to return to their ridings.
The legislation, bill S-7, originated in the Senate and would make it illegal for anyone under 16 to get married. It would also explicitly require consent for marriage, block anyone in a polygamist relationship from immigrating to Canada and allow for a peace bond to prevent someone from participating in forced or child marriage. Finally, it would make it illegal for someone to remove a child or non-consenting adult from Canada to have that person married.
Polygamy allegations aren’t unheard of in Canada. One community leader in Bountiful, B.C., has repeatedly fought charges of polygamy. Two residents have also been accused of having unlawfully removed a child under 16 from Canada with the intention of sexual interference or invitation to sexual touching.
Too soon to criminalize
Government officials have referred to a report by the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario that said it was aware of 219 cases of forced marriage originating in Ontario and Quebec between 2010 and 2013. But the organization last fall said the “barbaric cultural practices” bill shows the Conservatives aren’t listening.
“The government’s statements in support of these changes are not based on any statistical data or research, perpetuate myths about practices of polygamy and forced marriages, and lead Canadians to believe that violence against women is a ‘cultural’ issue that happens only in certain communities,” it said in a news release.
Deepa Mattoo, a staff lawyer at the clinic, told the Senate human rights committee in December that Canada shouldn’t be looking at criminalization yet for forced marriage because it hasn’t properly defined the problem or started educating people about it.
“The existing law captures issues of forced marriages pretty soundly, I would say. If we look at the criminal law provisions of duress, harm, assault and kidnapping… we have very strong criminal law, which can apply in a situation of forced marriage if need be,” she said.
Mattoo said some women won’t come forward if they think their families will be charged.
“Eighty per cent of my clients, in the last eight years, have had a chance to reunite with their families in one way or another. Being reunited could be that they just make a phone call to them. The reuniting could be that they visit them once a year. I’m not saying that they all go back, but they do want a chance to have a relationship with their family, which criminalization takes away from them,” she said.
Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said the bill’s controversial title had elicited debate in Parliament and argued it was done intentionally to draw attention to the government’s concern about certain practices. Kenney told the House during debate over S-7 that the government doesn’t want those practices “justified in Canada under the licence of multiculturalism.”
“We believe in equality of men and women as a self-evident principle of our society,” he said.
ADDED: ‘Barbaric cultural practices’ bill all about politics, Elizabeth May says
VANCOUVER – A leader of a remote British Columbia religious commune is asking the province’s Supreme Court to quash a polygamy charge against him.
Winston Blackmore filed a petition to the court on Friday arguing the charge must be tossed out, less than a month before he was to appear in court to decide on a judge or jury trial.
The petition argues the B.C. attorney general improperly appointed Peter Wilson, the special prosecutor who laid the charge against Blackmore and three other men.
It’s a similar argument to one Blackmore’s lawyer successfully made in 2009, when a judge tossed a polygamy charge because of how the province appointed its special prosecutor.
Lawyer Joe Arvay is once again arguing that a 2007 decision made by an earlier special prosecutor still stands, and the attorney general illegally appointed additional special prosecutors.
In 2007, special prosecutor Richard Peck concluded that polygamy was the root cause of alleged problems in the small community of Bountiful, B.C., in the province’s southern interior.
But rather than recommend charges, he called for the constitutional question to be referred to the B.C. Court of Appeal, with a likely appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“He did so in order that the members of the Bountiful community would have an authoritative and expeditious judicial resolution of the legal controversy surrounding polygamy, and if the law was upheld, fair notice that their practice of polygamy must cease,” the petition reads.
But then-attorney general Wally Oppal declined to refer the case, instead appointing more special prosecutors until one recommended charges in 2009 against Blackmore and another Bountiful leader, James Oler.
Arvay argued at the time that Peck’s initial decision should be the final word on the matter, and a judge agreed and dismissed the case.
That prompted the B.C. government to launch a constitutional reference case, which ultimately ended with a B.C. Supreme Court judge concluding that the law making polygamy illegal don’t violate the religious protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Then in 2012, Shirley Bond, the attorney general at the time, appointed Wilson as a special prosecutor. He approved charges against Blackmore and Oler in August.
Blackmore and Oler became leaders of separate factions in Bountiful when the religious community split a decade ago.
Blackmore is accused of 24 marriages, while Oler is accused of four marriages and is charged along with two other people with unlawfully removing a child from Canada for sexual purposes.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
The petition not only calls for Blackmore’s charge to be dropped, it also argues that Wilson’s appointment should be ruled invalid and costs should be paid to Blackmore.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said he was aware of the petition but it would not be appropriate to comment on the “content or issues” it raises at this time.
“The prosecution in question remains before the court and is in the hands of Mr. Wilson as special prosecutor,” he said in an email.
Forced marriage is one of the last taboos to break. A new law could make it a crime. So why do those who champion prevention oppose it?
Two weeks after her 18th birthday, Lee Marsh was sitting at the kitchen table one Sunday, reading the Bible, when her mother came in and announced that Marsh would marry a 20-year-old member of their Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Montreal. The girl was stunned; she had met her husband-to-be just once. Five weeks later, it was done.
For a few months before, her mother had been shopping her around while sizing up men in the congregation—some more than 20 years older—looking for a suitable husband. She made Marsh wear a tight, low-cut white dress bought for the outings. “I hated wearing it. I’ve always preferred to be covered up,” Marsh says. “But my mother really wanted me to be attractive to these men.” Marsh’s mother had rejected all the suitors up to that day in 1970 when she announced the match. “I knew I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion. This wasn’t a woman that you said no to.”
Marsh thought about the leather strap hanging by the front door, the one her mother used when the children—Marsh was the eldest of four—dared to defy her. They never knew what would set her off; two weeks before, Marsh had got it for not cleaning the house properly. So Marsh buried the feelings of anger and betrayal she felt toward the woman who had abandoned her twice already in her short life: After her parents divorced when she was nine, she was left behind in Toronto with a father she says sexually abused her; later, in Montreal, when she had returned to her mom, she says her mother’s Jehovah’s Witness boyfriend also sexually assaulted her, and she was sent into foster care.
In their congregation, the pressure to get married early was intense. Breaking off the engagement was not an option. “Once the announcement was made in church that we were getting married, I was trapped,” she says. “I couldn’t back out of it.” Marsh would do anything to stay in her mother’s good graces; she couldn’t bear the thought of losing her again.
Marital struggles really can break hearts, according to a new study from Michigan State University.
Especially for women, a demanding, critical husband boosts the odds of cardiovascular disease, according to the study “Bad marriage, broken heart? Age and gender differences in the link between marital quality and cardiovascular risks among older adults.”
Making matters worse, a woman’s bad health — more so than a man’s — then contributes to a poorer marriage, said lead investigator Hui Liu, an MSU sociologist.
That’s because a woman who knows her husband has heart disease will tend to care for her husband and their relationship more to avoid causing additional stress. In contrast, a man may not be as conscious of his wife’s heart condition and many are not the natural caregivers that women tend to be, Liu said.
“The major frame is ‘How does marriage affect cardiovascular health?’ What we found is the cardiovascular disease might affect the marriage,” she said.
And the worse the marriage and the older the woman, the more pronounced her disease.
For the study, published Wednesday evening online in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Liu looked at survey questions and health data provided by 1,200 married men and women who participated in the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project based out of the University of Chicago. Respondents were aged 57-85 at the beginning of the study, which included questions about marital quality as well as lab tests and self-reported measures of cardiovascular health such as heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and high levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a biomarker for inflammation and heart disease, Lui said. The study suggests the need for marriage counseling and programs aimed at well-being for couples in their 70s and 80s.
Liu wanted to know whether marital quality affects the risk of heart disease over time, and – if so – whether it varies by gender and age.
She found that “a bad marriage is more harmful to your heart health than a good marriage is beneficial.”
Moreover, that link is stronger as women age. In other words, the cardiovascular damage worsens over time, possibly fuelled by the continued stress over the bad marriage coupled with declining immune function and increasing frailty from normal ageing.
She believes that the link is stronger in women than men, in part, because women tend to internalize negative feelings and that they are more often than men caregivers for spouses.
The study was conducted with Linda Waite, sociology professor at the University of Chicago and was funded by the National Institute of Aging.