Skip to comments.Conservatives Say Utah Polygamy Ruling Confirms Their Worst Fears
Posted on 12/19/2013 6:30:25 PM PST by robowombat
Conservatives Say Utah Polygamy Ruling Confirms Their Worst Fears
Sarah Pulliam Bailey Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Fueling debates over marriage and religious freedom, a federal judge declared on Dec. 13 Utah laws criminalizing polygamy are unconstitutional, ruling on a case involving the Brown family from TLCs reality series Sister Wives.
Social conservatives who have argued for marriage solely between one man and one woman have long warned that allowing gay marriage would ultimately lead to allowing polygamy an argument thats both feared and rejected by gay marriage proponents.
Perhaps not surprisingly, groups advocating for legalizing gay marriage were quiet in response, saying that legalizing polygamy is not part of their mandate.
At the same time, proponents of traditional marriage did a victory lap of sorts, saying their worst fears are starting to come true.
Same-sex marriage advocates have told us that people ought to be able to marry who they love but have also always downplayed the idea that this would lead to legalized polygamy, a practice that very often victimizes women and children, said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, in a statement on Monday (Dec. 16).
But if love and mutual consent become the definition of what the boundaries of marriage are, can we as a society any longer even define marriage coherently?
The case involves the cast of Sister Wives, which entered its fourth season earlier this year, featuring Kody Brown and his four wives. The Browns are members of a fundamentalist Mormon group, not part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which does not condone the practice of polygamy.
While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs, Kody Brown said in a statement. Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices.
A 2012 Pew Research survey found little acceptance of polygamy among Mormons with 86 percent of them saying it is morally wrong. Wider American opinion on gay marriage, meanwhile, has evolved over the past decade. In Pew Research polling in 2001, Americans opposed gay marriage 57 percent to 35 percent. Two 2013 polls suggest 50 percent of Americans are in favor of gay marriage with 43 percent opposed.
U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups ruling attacked sections of Utahs laws against cohabitation, saying in his decision that the phrase or cohabits with another person is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments.
In his decision, Waddoups, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, writes that while there is no fundamental right to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to religious cohabitation.
The judges ruling does not say that Utah has to recognize multiple marriages, said Brad Greenberg, a research scholar at Columbia Law School. The Supreme Court has repeatedly indicated that determining who can marry is almost exclusively the province of the states, he said.
A ban on polygamous marriage does little to deter those who want to enter into multiple marriages, some illegally, and then live together, Greenberg said. So Utahs criminal ban on cohabitation sought to address these practices with a broader ban. That is what Judge Waddoups ruled was unconstitutional, because it criminalizes conduct outside Utahs ability to define marriage, and in doing so encroaches on First Amendment protections.
The Brown family filed a lawsuit in July 2011, saying that Utahs law violated their right to privacy, relying on the 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas law banning sodomy.
In hearings for the case, according to The Salt Lake Tribune report, Waddoups focused on the definition of a polygamous relationship, asking for the difference between a polygamous relationship between one man and several wives and an unmarried man who chooses to have intimate relationships with three women.
Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold Jensen argued that a polygamous relationship is different because it was defined by people representing themselves as married.
The Browns have only entered into one legally recognized marriage, so they could have faced prosecution for calling their relationship a marriage, a decision they made based on their religion.
In response to the judges decision, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said he is always a little concerned when public policy changes are made by the courts.
Attorney Jonathan Turley, who argued the case for the Browns, said in a blog post that the decision was a victory not for polygamy but privacy in America.
Utah has achieved something equally important today: true equality of its citizens regardless of their personal faiths or practices, Turley wrote.
In his ruling, the judge took a narrow interpretation of the words marry and purports to marry, meaning that bigamy remains illegal, such as when someone fraudulently acquires multiple marriage licenses.
If the State must force me to acknowledge its power to declare two men to be “married”, then I must support efforts to remove that power from the State. If people who don’t want God defining their personal morality demand a separation of church and State then let us also have separation of marriage and State as well. If those people don’t want any displays of the Ten Commandments in government buildings, they cannot hide behind the Commandments that protect marriage when it comes marriage that God cannot sanction.
Mitt Romney clearly had a plan when he imposed this.
Oh for gawd’s sake, get OFF it already.
If I had to chose between Polygamy and Gay Marriage I would pick Polygamy any day—its in the Bible. People are going to do it now the children will have some legal standing—at least un Utah.
There’s gotta be an asteroid heading this way, maybe behind the sun, we just can’t see it yet ...
Whether Islamic agents are directly at it or not, I wouldn’t know. Maybe it’s all old fashioned Mormons. Satan should be considered the source of the mischief, the humans only the willing pawns.
What hits me as curious is that this should raise a louder brouhaha than homosexual faux-marriage. If we are going to do marriage a la Old Testament, it’s polygamy that should have ruled long ago. If one thought a man of virtue should know better, then look at the story of Solomon. It is with Christ that we got the monogamous ideal. It kept marital love cleaner and helped keep women out of the spiritual mud — there cannot be jealousy between wives if the husband can have only one wife. It elevated women. I don’t know of any poly-husband culture,offhand, though somewhere in the world it might exist.
Here Christ forbids both divorce and, by logical inference, polygamy, as to marry another wife after a divorce is adultery.
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
In this case the problem is polygamy but Muslims. The number of Americans eager for polygamous unions other than in southern Utah are few. The number of Muslims are many and they have a mountain of money behind their retardate and dysfunctional culture and its project for ruling the planet.
If polygamy becomes accepted and legal, there will be chaos in the courts. How many people can marry? A thousand? What if some want a divorce but some of the others don’t? How will they figure out who and what belongs to whom? It will clog the courts and turn the laws about inheritance and other things upside down.
That is nothing compared to the damage done to children. The whole idea, like gay marriage (which is an abusdity), is sick.
So, come on, what’s the deal - can I marry my two-year-old pet goat or not!
To another pet goat of the opposite sex, I’d think (duck’n & runn’n)
Well, here’s my spiritual philosophization. I think conservatives saw more to lose in polygamy than in homo faux-marriage. And part of it is that conservatives quit being “real men” long ago. So to gaydom is not that far to fall. And this will probably make a lot of conservatives mad and so what. I hope they will get so mad they will call on the strength of God to re-assert itself amongst themselves. Where are the tough guy churches? Promise Keepers was the closest thing I had seen and it has not done that well lately, perhaps because it was polluted with a faulty premise. Christian men weren’t called to make promises. This is fleshly. They were called to claim God’s promise! Promise Receivers would be a better way to frame the concept. IMHO.
Reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Peter wants to marry his slice of Blueberry Pie. Then he eats it a minute later and says forget it.
A gay group in Mass. is trying to get the age of consent lowered to 12 years old. They are gaining ground. Evidently the gays want to recruit little children. Lowering the age of consent will allow them to do this. It’s only time before they will then lobby for a federal law lowering the age nationwide
And I could run a clueless jerk for president of the USA and... wait a minute, it’s happened.
You are correct. NAMBLA slogan is ‘sex before eight or it’s to late.’
Oh, you can do quite enough mischief in the teens.
Okay, so... hey, I’m nothing if not open minded; does that mean I can marry into a menage a trois with male and female goats?
We want to be legally correct about this.
And what about if the neighbor’s dog gets jealous; can we include her, too?
(Just between the two of us, I have a friend at the zoo who’s on VERY good terms with a hot, young zebra - wink, wink - any interest?)
2 goats and a dog?
Oh, gee, you’re not one of those anti-mammal discriminators, are you?
Hey, one of my neighbors is married to a swordfish, and that’s working out very, very well despite the obvious difficulties.