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Polygamy in Utah Decriminalized by Federal Court

The U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Central Division has ruled that plural marriages do not constitute a crime. While this does not open the door immediately to plural marriage licenses or other rights, it does one thing – families that practice polygamy may not be persecuted by the state as criminals.

 

The case, brought by the former Utah family of Cody Brown and his 4 wives, who had to flee Utah to escape state persecution, was represented by Jonathan Turley as its lead counsel. Turley wrote on his blog that U.S. District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups had struck down key portions of the Utah polygamy law as unconstitutional.

 



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Turley observed, “With this decision, families like the Browns can now be both plural and legal in the state of Utah. The Court struck down the provision as violating both the free exercise clause of the First Amendment as well as the due process clause. The court specifically struck down language criminalizing cohabitation – the provision that is used to prosecute polygamists.”

Observing that the law had been challenged dozens of times in state and federal courts over many decades, Turley praised Judge Waddoups and said, “It took singular courage to be the first court not only in this country but any recorded decision to strike down the criminalization of polygamy.”

 

In its decision, the court struck down the part of the statute that criminalizes co-habitation between consenting adults. The effect of the decision would also limit future prosecutions of traditional bigamy in cases where individuals have multiple marriage licenses.

 

Of course, this throws open a door of thousands of other issues like inheritance, and rights of wives and their children, but as the case makes clear – criminalization of polygamy also did not serve to address those more important issues, but served to suppress them.

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Posted by on December 14, 2013. Filed under Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Teri Cross Chetwood

    Little by little, piece by piece, marriage is being destroyed. Incrementalism strikes again.

  • mutthead52

    little by little, piece by piece, the right of people to determine their own marriage preferences is being protected

  • NilesAkbar

    The State has no business in marriage, period.

  • Bob Tiredofit

    little by little, piece by piece, the santity of marriage is being destroyed. Queers have led the charge and will surely burn in hell for it. the pres will be right with you because of his decisions while destroying this nation from the inside.

  • lisa mandeville

    Do you believe that marriage is the fabric of our society? How can you believe that allowing couples whether interracial, homosexual, or plural the legal rights of marriage will destroy this country from the inside. Does our country run on marriages? Does our economy run on marriages? No. Our country was founded on religious freedom, by forcing one groups religious views about marriage on the whole population, isn’t that in effect destroying the very fabric of our country? I honestly don’t expect this to change your mind on marriage, bigotry dies hard.

  • lisa mandeville

    There are so many things that belittle marriage, none of them have to do
    with who or how many you marry. They have to do with the decisions
    that people in the marriage make. True fact only the people in the marriage can destroy it. I
    have seen many straight couples ruin the sanctity of marriage. Your
    marriage will be just as valid and important to YOU even if other people
    that you don’t think should be able to get married can now get married. If you are married, think about it when you heard IA or WA or MA allowed gay marriage did you immediately think well now my marriage is worth less to me? Did your love of your husband and the way you cherished your own marriage diminish because of gay marriage, or plural marriage? If you are married and your answer is no then these things have not destroyed marriage. If your answer is yes then you should immediately divorce your husband because your marriage is destroyed.

  • miscadverts

    I expect this to mean women can now have more than one husband. I also expect people might think twice about getting into a partnership which could result in the wealth they brought to the union being distributed to people whom their partner married after the fact.

  • goose66

    You have no reason or precedent for believing that could happen.

  • Eric

    “santity” … what is “santity”? hmmm, it rhymes with “inanity”–maybe thats what you ment Bob.

    If you are going to come troll on a legal news site, at least make an attempt to sound educated. No one is going to take your position seriously when you play right in to their sterotype as a damnation-pronouncing neanderthal.