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December 23, 2005

Group Sex & Wife Swapping Clubs Found Constitutionally Protected In Canada

Kinda takes the fun out of it, though.

Swingers clubs that feature group sex and partner-swapping are legal because they cause society no harm, the Supreme Court of Canada said Wednesday in a ruling that rewrote the definition of indecency.

The 7-2 majority said the new determining factor will be whether the sexual behaviour in question causes harm, replacing the previous yardstick that the act must offend community standards of tolerance.

"Moral views, even if strongly held, do not suffice," wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

"As members of a diverse society, we must be prepared to tolerate conduct of which we disapprove."

In a biting dissent, justices Louis LeBel and Michel Bastarache accused the majority of turning their backs on public morality and the established legal order. Furthermore, the majority decision could lead to "anti-social behaviour," they wrote.

"This new harm-based approach strips of all relevance the social values that the Canadian community as a whole believes should be protected," said the lengthy dissent.

"The explicit sexual acts performed in the accused’s establishments clearly offended the Canadian community standard of tolerance."

The ruling, which legal experts described as a liberal move, overturned [a previous conviction for violating lewd-acts laws].

Hmmm... "experts" describe this as a liberal move.

As Taranto always asks, what would we do without experts?

I suppose this is a libertarian move, too. It does get to the Big Question -- what deference do we give to prevailing community values, as well as citizens' basic rights to have laws reflecting their preferences, and what deference do we give to the libertarian creed, I believe first announced on the Prince album 1999, "If it feels all right, then do it all night?"

That was snarky, but I do think it is a big question. One on hand, the majority has a right to promulgate laws designed to craft what it believes to be the Good Society. On the other hand, minorities who may not agree with such a vision would seem to have, on a strictly quantum-of-freedom analysis, the right to do what they will and pursue happiness to the extent they don't harm others.

The question will never be resolved, really. All Great Questions defy solution, or else they wouldn't be Great Questions.

Thanks to Bob.


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posted by Ace at 01:28 PM

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