Bountiful’s Plural Marriages
McGill University - Faculty of Law
September 3, 2010
International Journal of Law in Context, Forthcoming
Bountiful, British Columbia is Canada’s only openly polygamous community. Public discussions about Bountiful suggest that the only form of marriage practiced there is polygamous, and that this is usually harmful to women and children. This paper suggests that this monolithic representation of marriage in Bountiful misses the conjugal pluralism that exists in this community. Part I sets out the typical portrayal of marriage in Bountiful offered by Canadian public and political discussions. Part II contrasts this portrayal with five stories about marriage in Bountiful that the author observed or was told about while conducting field research. These stories indicate that conjugal heterogeneity is both existent and accepted in Bountiful. They also suggest that, in becoming and being a wife in Bountiful, women can experience varying degrees of choice and agency. All of this is relevant to exploring how a fuller recognition of the conjugal diversity and choices that may exist in a place like Bountiful might affect formal juridical approaches to polygamy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Polygamy, Plural Marriage, Bountiful
Date posted: September 4, 2010