Yet another reason why Canada Rocks (crossposted)
The Canadian Supreme Court has redefined indecency to use harm, rather than community standards, as the key yardstick.
The issue under debate was the question of whether group sex and swingers clubs were criminal because they were indecent.
"Over time, courts increasingly came to recognize that morals and taste were subjective, arbitrary and unworkable in the criminal context and that a diverse society would function only with a generous measure of tolerance for minority mores and practices."
The courts have gradually moved from subjective considerations to objective standards, focused on the harm caused by the acts.
"The threshold is high," McLachlin wrote. "It proclaims that, as members of a diverse society, we must be prepared to tolerate conduct of which we disapprove, short of conduct that can be objectively shown beyond a reasonable doubt to interfere with the proper functioning of society."
Bad taste, violation of religious or moral standards or even public disgust aren't by themselves enough to make something indecent.
Conduct that confronts the public, which predisposes others to anti-social behaviour or actually harms those taking part, would meet the test, McLachlin wrote.