Polygamists challenge US state’s law against bigamy

Polygamists in America are continuing their attempt to overturn Utah’s law against bigamy, citing a leading homosexual ruling from the US Supreme Court.

Kody Brown and his four ‘wives’ claim that Utah’s bigamy law is unconstitutional because it violates their right to privacy.

Their lawyers are using historical Supreme Court rulings, such as a case from 2003 when judges ruled that homosexual acts in private were protected by the US constitution, to argue against the law.

Same-sex

A supporter of polygamy has also argued that if same-sex marriage is allowed polygamy should be too.

Mark Easterday, who was arrested and charged with bigamy in 1999, said: “I think they should change the law over the entire country.

“Why is it that in some places a woman and a woman can be married, but a man can’t have another wife?”

Bigamy

Mr Brown and his ‘wives’ filed a lawsuit last July claiming that Utah’s bigamy law is unconstitutional because it criminalises their private relationships and prohibits them from living together.

Last month they argued their case before US District Judge Clark Waddoups who plans to rule on the matter at an unspecified later date.

Mr Brown is only legally married to one of his ‘wives’. But like most polygamists in Utah he ‘married’ the other three women in religious ceremonies with the couples considering themselves to be “spiritually married”.

Guilty

Bigamy is a criminal offence in Utah and can be punished with a jail term of up to five years.

According to Utah’s bigamy statute: “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

The Scottish Government is currently considering redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. The controversial proposals have generated widespread opposition.

Redefine

The Westminster Government will launch a consultation in the Spring asking how – not if – the legal definition of marriage should be changed to allow homosexual marriage.

Traditional marriage supporters have warned that attempts to redefine marriage to allow same-sex unions could result in calls to legalise polygamy.

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