WillySteed*ChristineMarie*KolleneSnow*AudienceMember*EdKociela AuthorPlygsAnswersQuestions *JewelryAtGuilt* DickJaneFlipbook*Spoilers*Tweets*RebeccaMusser*My5WivesGreat Stories*BuyTeamKolleenTshirtTodayDon'tMissOut!!!Review!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lawsuit Filed in Utah to Legalize All Forms of Polygamy, Including Group Marriages

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but, sadly, it’s not because there hasn’t been a number of topics to choose from. In my last post, I wrote about the New York legislature’s decision to legalize same-sex “marriage.” I also explained, to no-one’s surprise, that just prior to the vote, some already were bemoaning how same-sex “marriage” would be too restrictive because of society’s expectations of monogamy in marriage. Just days later, attorney Jonathan Turley (a law professor at George Washington University School of Law) filed a lawsuit challenging Utah’s law that makes it a crime to knowingly have a spouse and to marry or live with a third person.
The complaint is filed on behalf of the Brown family, who were featured on a TLC reality TV show about polygamy – Sister Wives. In the complaint, Mr. Turley explains that the law “wrongfully” prevents all forms of polygamy, which he describes as including “polygyny, polyandry, and other forms of ‘group marriages.’” To make sure we all are on the same page, he defines each term: polygamy refers to any and all forms of plural marriages; polygyny refers more specifically to a plural marriage of a man and more than one wife; polyandry refers to a plural marriage of a woman with more than one husband; and group marriage refers to a “family” consisting of multiple husbands and wives. Finally, he explains that there is yet another category that is distinct from polygamy — “polyamory.” He defines polyamory as “consensual relationships where participants have more than one sexual partner, including long term commitments to multiple adult partners.” All of these have one common feature, according to the complaint, they “believe that monogamous unions are artificially restrictive and run counter to the biological and emotional needs of human beings.” Yes, he’s arguing that people can’t help but have more than one sex partner so the government should just go ahead and condone it. According to Turley and the Brown plaintiffs, the state has no business in criminalizing these various sexual relationships.
How does he justify his argument? He relies on the US Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, a court decision from one province in Canada to protect polygamy, the fact that we permit single people to live, and have children together, and, most offensively, the Bible. The first two reasons require very little discussion. Lawrence is argued by anyone seeking government recognition of sexual sin. What else would you expect from a court decision that proclaimed that the constitutional guarantee of liberty “extends beyond spatial bounds” and “presumes an autonomy of self” both “in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.” Assuming anyone knows what that means, it certainly leaves the door open for people to argue everything (including, for example, pedophilia) is protected by the constitution.
The two arguments that merit more attention are the Bible and societal-based arguments. The complaint properly points out that in America today, we no longer criminalize (or even socially stigmatize) unmarried cohabitation, fornication, or adultery. If we don’t take these sexual sins seriously, so the argument goes, what basis do we have for saying that polygamy (or same-sex marriage) is wrong. I understand the argument, but don’t agree in the conclusion. Frankly, I think we should take more seriously all forms of sexual sin and take steps to legally discourage the conduct. The solution is not, however, to simply make it a free for all for all types of sexual sin. And the church needs to take the lead on strengthening its commitment to marriage.
Finally, let’s turn to the Biblical argument. I believe this argument demonstrates the worldview conflict that is at the foundation of the current legal battles to legalize same-sex marriage, and, now, polygamy. In the complaint, Mr. Turley makes the argument that polygamy is a longstanding religious practice and is condoned by the Bible. First, he explains that many of the Old Testament heroes were polygamists (referring to Abraham, Moses, and Davis) and “chosen by God to lead His chosen people.” Based on this, he argues, the Bible approves of polygamy. Of course, not being familiar with the Bible, Mr. Turley overlooks the fact that the Bible makes clear that marriage is a union between one man and one woman and that God did not condone of polygamy. What makes his argument even more ironic is that after using the Bible to make his point that polygamy is a longstanding religious practice, he then goes on to essentially say that most people don’t actually take the Bible as the literal word of God. Well, you can’t have it both ways – citing the Bible as fact, and then questioning that it is fact.
Hopefully, with this case, people will finally realize that the overall goal is to absolutely destroy marriage and eradicate any societal reliance on traditional moral values.

Source: http://www.christianlawjournal.com/blog/lawsuit-filed-utah-legalize-forms-polygamy-including-group-marriages; Thanks to Female Attorney)


  1. So live in sin have multiple partners, but why demand that polygamy be sanctioned?

    No difference with the gay rights movement, they too demand recognized sanction.

    Biology and procreation challenge gay marriages from a pure logical point of view, taking religion out of it.

    Religious polygamy verses FREE LOVE of non marriage cohabitation, are vastly different. As seen with Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, intimidation is used to enforce penalties within doctrine and belief! YOU WILL BE DAMNED IF!

    Women can not achieve glory without a MAN. Man is the God-Head of the Preisthood. Ignore the prophesy and you will be damned to hell or as Warren put it, be a concubinin the next life. With sanction religious Freedom, come relgious intimidation.

    In Free Love, unsanctioned by government, you get the privilage of unions, progeny, free choice, etc.

    While sanctioned is desired, few are defending multiple husbands, the desire for sanctions is typically gender biased.

    Its more about defending a right to intimidate, live in isolation, to defend a right to self teach doctrines that differ with accepted science and popular or accurate histories.

    Then if permitted, would divorce even be allowed for women? Allimony and child support paided by the polygamist or society? Winston in Canada has 21 wives and 103 children, if a wife leaves him, what protections is she offered under the law? Adoption equality that adopts girls only? Inheretance? Another 50 questions if any one sat down and thought about this.

    If polygamy was legal and fair, unions could cross link with other unions, by a single partner that wants to be sealed to more than one contract. It could look like a nuclear chart of 1,000 connected relationships, gay, lesbian and hetro/straight. Would taxpayers be further forced to pay for these choices and would insurance companies be forced to cover contact families, instead of biological? Biological with 21 wives and 103 children would effect the equity and fairness of those who pay taxes and premiums who chose to nurture 2-5 childrens, instead of being a father to 103. Being an absent father in favor of being a SPERM DONOR questions the family structure and need to be a father figure.

    If you cohabitate amongst adults, don't suck up social services support and don't rule by intimidation, who is really stopping such? Demanding government recognition and sanction is political and financial and has an agenda.

    Exponential growth of the FLDS created 12,000 FLDS followers. If 1 million people opted to live polygamy and procreate at an early age, it would only take a hundred years to politically dominate a new order and to create an imbalance in available females, its mathimatical. But it only works if you can impose fear or threat under organization, thus religion rears its uglier side.


  2. I'm even more confused on what they really want. the Brown's picked a bad time to do this. i think they were pissed they didn't get arrested.

  3. Can we say, Cake and eat it too?

  4. Would this fall under the category of all marriages, not just Mormon fundamentalists? Say a group just got together and decided to do it? The more legal jargon I read, the more I'm lost!
    Lady Attorney, help us! Dummy it down for me.

  5. I'm confused, too

  6. Hopefully, with this case, people will finally realize that the overall goal is to absolutely destroy marriage and eradicate any societal reliance on traditional moral values.

    Can I get a AMEN!

  7. 3 purple shirts!! Boy, next time they go to NY to do a press junket, they really need to change inbetween!

  8. I honestly don't know what Turley is actually trying to accomplish. I do know that his law suit is seeking to legalize polygamy. He is afraid of the political ramifications of admitting it, so he calls it "decriminalization" but it is the same thing. As some have already pointed out, polygamy is already decriminalized because Utah won't go after the offenders unless there is more involved, or, like the Brown idiots, you go on national TV and try to lobby for a change in the law. In Canada, noboby there makes any distinction between legalizing polygamy vs. decriminalizing it. They are well aware that if the ban against polygamy is struck down, they have legalized polygamy.

  9. Female Attorney - Terrasola had a brilliant idea! Would you write a post for us about this? Sometimes it's hard for us non attorneys to see all the ends and outs? If you would, please email me lovetvreality@gmail.com to discuss. We'd love to have you!

  10. I'm of the opinion that the courts are going to toss the Browns' lawsuit because it's not ripe. And Turley is well aware of this, which annoys me to no end. He's a constitutional scholar and knows the courts don't deal in possibilities. There has to be something actually in controversy, and what that means here is that there has to be an arrest, trial and conviction. OTHERWISE, your avenue is to go to the legislature and get the law changed there.

    To give an example: Texas outlawed consensual homosexual sex, but until there was actually someone arrested, tried and convicted, and then the conviction appealed, then the law could not be overturned by the courts (Lawrence v. Texas).

    What complicates the Kody Browns situation is that they're not living in Utah, which is apparently where the lawsuit is being brought. So, they're not under the current jurisdiction of the Utah courts. The way around this, of course, is for the Browns to go back to Utah, get arrested, tried and convicted. But Kody & wives don't really want to suffer for their convictions, hence this (IMO) bogus and totally useless excuse for a legal action.

    Since the Browns are apparently associated with the AUB, I wonder what AUB leadership thinks? My suspicion is that they don't like the attention.

  11. Read "Speculation Upon The Kody Brown Polygamy Case" Aug 12.
    NOPE, not to happy!!!!!

    Fundamentalist churches are already grappling with the issue. The Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), from which tradition Kody Brown hails, has voiced its disapproval of his lawsuit. In a public sacrament meeting on Sunday, August 7, 2011, Dave Watson of the Priesthood Council warned that “no one has the right to go off half-cocked and take it upon himself to try to decriminalize plural marriage on the coat-tails of legislation passed on gay rights.” The only acceptable way to approach the matter is to reverse the Reynolds decision, Watson insisted. He further stated, “Do I want to see [plural marriage] dragged through the courts and decriminalized as a result of the homosexual movement? I will not stand for it. The ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

  12. Actually, trying to reverse Reynolds is not going to work for one simple reason: Utah is no longer a territory and Reynolds is a decision impacting territories, which are under federal jurisdiction. Utah is now a state and polygamy is outlawed under state statutes.

    The other possible way to go at declaring anti-polygamy laws unconstitutional that I know of which has been kicked around in recent years deals with "unequal footing." Some have argued that the enabling act that gave Utah statehood admitted Utah on an "unequal footing" with the other states in the Union because it required Utah to implement anti-polygamy legislation as a condition of statehood. It's a novel argument.

    However, the one sure way to decriminalize polygamy is to repeal the statute, which is not likely to happen. The second, less sure, way is for consenting adults to be arrested, tried and convicted for practicing polygamy under the Utah statute, and then appealing the conviction. I can just about guarantee you that in these times where states do not have frivolous money to just throw around, district attorneys are not going to indict consenting adults for practicing polygamy.

    I really want to ask Jonathan Turley why on earth he's doing this, because he teaches Constitutional Law and I'm sure he tells his students what I heard from my teacher back in the 1980s. There has to be a controversy, the US courts do not issue advisory opinions (like the Canadian polygamy case), and in this particular case, the way to get a controversy is not on TLC, but by getting arrested for polygamy--and I don't think Kody & wives really want to do that!

  13. You guys are so smart! I feel like a Sneedville dummy.

  14. Another attorney posting. Yeah. I totally agree with the above posts. I don't think I could do a better job then some others are doing. In fact, I found another very good article by a female attorney. She clerked for a Supreme Court Justice! (That means that she probably authored some of the opinions of the court.) She is also an advocate for children, as I am. In this article, she quotes from the Reynolds case. What I would emphasize is that she points out that marriage is governed by the states for the benefit of families. Also, she says that the Utah case basically has no chance of winning. Here is the site: