Utah appeals polygamy ruling

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office will proceed with an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling striking down part of the state’s polygamy ban.

FOX 13 first reported Thursday morning that Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes had planned to pursue the appeal with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A notice of appeal had already been filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Read the appeal here:

Last year, a federal judge struck down the cohabitation prong of Utah’s anti-polygamy law — essentially decriminalizing the practice. In an order clarifying his decision, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups preserved a portion of the statute that makes it illegal to seek multiple marriage licenses.

Judge Waddoups’ decision on polygamy came a week before an historic decision striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby. Earlier this week, Utah abandoned its fight against same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal.

Questions had been raised about whether Utah would pursue the appeal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the Amendment 3 case. At the time, the attorney general’s office would only say it was analyzing the impact of the high court’s decision.

The “Sister Wives” case was brought by reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his four wives, who sued the state after they were put under investigation by Lehi police. The family argued that Utah’s ban on polygamy violated their First Amendment right to freely practice their religion.

In a statement to FOX 13, Reyes’ Democratic challenger, Charles Stormont, criticized the appeal.

“Taxpayers should ask why Sean Reyes is appealing a case against a reality TV star when he was never brought a bigamy charge,” Stormont wrote. “We need to stop money chasing headlines. Instead, we should focus on protecting victims of child abuse and domestic violence and prosecuting tax and welfare fraud.”

6 comments

  • Chris

    Utah please stop wasting tax money, no other state has cohabitation as their polygamy laws. Are you prepared to go after anyone cohabiting not just polygamists? I await the same fate as amendment 3 on this one.

  • Calvin

    I would put it to the judge at any and all levels this way. By repealing this law you are here by taking away the state hood of Utah. That was one blocking point for Utah to even gain state hood. By changing this law you will make the state an independent Country To that I say THANKS now give us back our money & land and every thing else you took

    • Chris

      Utah would not lose it’s statehood. Polygamy is still illegal, just the cohabitation law was declared unconstitutional. Plus if the court ever decided to allow polygamy they would rule that it was unconstitutional for the Feds to mandate that statehood clause to begin with as it violated freedom of religion, nowhere was there a law saying at the time the LDS Church began that practice saying it was illegal. PS no other state in the union has a cohabitation clause to their antipolygamy laws.

      • bob

        Bigamy is illegal, which is fraudulently being married to more than one person. Polygamists only have 1 legal spouse. The rest are just women they sleep with.

        Indeed, “polygamy” is a thought crime, now that “blue laws” are obsolete. It used to be illegal to have s e x with multiple people. Now that it’s legal, there is no logical way to enforce an anti-polygamy statute. It’s absurd to say that you can do it with as many people as you please unless you refer to them as “wives.”

        That’s why polygamy is never prosecuted as such. No such case could survive in today’s courts. Nor should it. Consenting adults should be free to do as they pleas and call themselves whatever they wish.

        It’s when perverts like Jeffs and his bunch use it as an excuse to get with little girls that a line is crossed.

    • bob

      By the way, Calvin: Utah’s statehood doesn’t stand or fall on this issue. The FEDERAL courts struck down Utah’s law against polygamy.

      Please take a basic civics course. And no, I don’t mean race your mother’s grocery-getter around a parking lot.

  • repeal1968guncontrolact

    Reyes is a buffoon and I’m a republican saying this. I just can’t vote for Reyes now, based on basic principles of liberty. I think Stormfront is also pro drug war so he’s a non starter. It’s going to be Andrew Mccullough all the way for A.G.

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