Anti-polygamy group asks court to uphold Utah polygamy ban

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SALT LAKE CITY — An anti-polygamy group is asking a federal appeals court to uphold the state’s polygamy ban.

In a “friend of the court” brief filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Thursday, the Sound Choices Coalition asked for a federal judge’s ruling that essentially decriminalized plural marriage to be reversed. The case centers around reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, who sued Utah seeking to overturn the polygamy ban.

Polygamist Kody Brown (center) and his wives (left to right) Janelle, Meri, Robyn and Christine. (Image courtesy TLC)

Polygamist Kody Brown (center) and his wives (left to right) Janelle, Meri, Robyn and Christine. (Image courtesy TLC)

In its filing, the Sound Choices Coalition cites the “harms” of polygamy as why it should remain prohibited — including child-bride marriages and welfare fraud.

“Polygamy is frequently associated with larger family size, and higher fertility for each wife… In polygynous households, these patterns can be expected to exert pressures on the family’s ability to provide financially for each child,” the group wrote. “This can be observed in Appellee’s own circumstance, wherein Janelle Brown was apparently unable to afford medical care or health insurance because, although cohabiting with Kody Brown, the latter’s income had to ‘support sixteen people.'”

“The psychological well-being of children is also implicated by the practice of polygamy. Available literature indicates patterns of mental health problems, poor social adjustment, and decreased academic performance among children in polygynous families.”

Read the amicus brief here:

In 2013, a week before another judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups declared part of the state’s ban on plural marriage that dealt with cohabitation unconstitutional. It remains illegal to seek multiple marriage licenses.

The state is appealing the Browns’ lawsuit to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court. Arguments could take place before the end of the year.

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