Utah Polygamy Law To Be Challenged

The reality TV show on TLC ‘Sister Wives‘ is like an unscripted version of  ‘Big Love‘: it’s about a man that’s legally married to one woman, but also ‘spiritually married’ to two more; they have 13 kids among them. The problem with this arrangement is that they used to live in Utah, where it’s illegal for a married person to imply they’re married or living with someone else as well. Since the TV show started, Utah prosecutors have been thinking about going after them, so they moved to Nevada and filed a lawsuit against the Utah polygamy law.

The Brown Family, from TLC's 'Sister Wives'


Their common-sense grounds are that it’s perfectly legal to have adulterous affairs or to have multiple sexual partners and the only difference here is that that they’re calling it marriage instead of affairs. Their legal grounds are in the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence vs Texas, in which two gay men were arrested for having sex in violation of Texas’ sodomy laws. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that those laws violate due process because of privacy. In other words, you can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home. It also seems to this lay person that the Utah law violates freedom of expression: we should be able to purport to be polygamists if we want to, whether that’s true or not. The only thing the state can regulate is who gets marital rights to you, and even that is ridiculous: the state should not be able to decide what personal relationships we choose to get into.


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