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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99480 Find in a Library
Title: Bigamy
Corporate Author: Law Reform Cmssn of Canada
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: Law Reform Cmssn of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OL6, Canada
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: Law Reform Cmssn of Canada
130 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OL6,

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: This chapter from the Canadian Law Reform Commission's Working Paper 42 on bigamy presents the commission's rationale for maintaining criminal penalties for bigamy and recommending the decriminalization of polygamy, feigned marriage, and marriage contrary to law.
Abstract: Social stability requires that the family unit be stable, and such stability is given concrete form by marriage. Recognizing this, legislation elevates marriage to the status of an institution whose form and substance are imposed by law. Monogamy is not only an essential characteristic of the institution of marriage, it is also a basic aspect of Canadian society. The historical development of matrimonial law demonstrates that clarity in persons' marital status is necessary. By requiring an official rite for the validity of a marriage, the law eliminates uncertainty surrounding marriage claims. Although there are many threats to the fundamental characteristics of marriage, threats carrying criminal sanctions must involve a degree of seriousness and social desirability that makes such sanctions plausible and necessary. Bigamy constitutes such a threat because it destroys the meaning of the institution itself by assuming all the ritual and official characteristics of marriage. Polygamy, on the other hand, is a practice so foreign to the Canadian way of life that it does not threaten the institution of marriage. Also, feigned marriage and marriage contrary to law no longer have the moral and social seriousness which originally justified making them criminal offenses. Twenty-seven footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Canada; Commission reports; Criminalization; Decriminalization; Marital problems
Note: Includes both English and French versions. Working Paper 42
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