Okay, help me here. There has been an angry, even hysterical reaction to the revelation that there are a number of polygamous families in Canada where Muslim men are married to up to four wives. Immigration law is fluid on the issue, with some experts arguing that immigrants already in such relationships may continue them in Canada.
Columnists and editorialists ran amok the past few weeks in condemning this alien arrangement and letters to newspapers screamed that the world was about to end if such immorality was allowed to continue.
But hold on just one little Canadian moment. Not so very long ago those of us who believed that marriage was the union of one man and one woman argued that to redefine the institution to include people of the same gender would inevitably lead to polygamy. If any of you doubt me, read one of my columns of three years ago.
I argued that marriage was based on four fundamentals. Age, number, blood and gender. In other words, those being married had to be of legal age, there could only be two of them, they could not be closely related and they had to be male and female. If, I continued, we changed one of those principles it was only a matter of time before at least one other was altered.
Love, we were told, was the only relevant factor and if a man loved a man or a woman loved a woman they should be allowed to be married. But what, I said at the time, if a man loved several women and they reciprocated?