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Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional


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sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-brown-family-ruling.html.csp

 

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A U.S. District Court judge has sided with the polgyamous Brown family, ruling that key parts of Utah’s polygamy laws are unconstitutional.

 

Waddoups’ ruling calls Utah’s law making polygamy illegal unconstitutional, saying the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of the First Amendment.

 

"The court finds the cohabitation prong of the Statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it," Waddoups later writes.

 

Utah’s bigamy statute technically survived the ruling. However, Waddoups took a narrow interpretation of the words "marry" and "purports to marry," meaning that bigamy remains illegal only in the literal sense — when someone fraudulently acquires multiple marriage licences.

 

 

 

Pretty big deal for the Browns and the various polygamist groups in Utah.

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My understanding is that this doesn't make plural marriage legal, it just cuts out the Utah law about cohabitation--that married people can't live with other people and call themselves married--a weird law that would only apply to Utah anyway. It just means that Utah can't go after polygamists who call themselves "married," not that there can be more than two people in in a legal marriage.

So the guy (it never comes up with women with more than one husband) can still have only one legal wife. He can, though, have other "wives" living in the home and they can cohabit to their hearts content without fear of prosecution.

That still leaves Janelle, Christine and Robyn as cohabitors, not wives, as far as civil law is concerned.

Since Utah says it doesn't prosecute people for cohabiting anyway, this isn't as much as a "victory" as the Browns claim.

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It sounds like it is decriminalized, but no one can start getting multiple legal marriage licenses. Which just brings them on par with other states.

Personally, I don't care how other adults want to run their love lives. It's not for me, but if the parties involved are all mentally capable and it is not a predatory situation, IDGAF what they do.

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I think everyone should have the right to love whoever they want and have relationships of their choosing. I have no problem with polygamy as long as all partners are consenting adults (just like with any other kind of relationship).

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I think everyone should have the right to love whoever they want and have relationships of their choosing. I have no problem with polygamy as long as all partners are consenting adults (just like with any other kind of relationship).

I agree, but there's a common practice among fundamentalist polygamists in which the subsequent wives, who are not legally married to the husband, collect welfare benefits as "single mothers." Anti-government religious groups justify this action as "bleeding the beast."

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I agree, but there's a common practice among fundamentalist polygamists in which the subsequent wives, who are not legally married to the husband, collect welfare benefits as "single mothers." Anti-government religious groups justify this action as "bleeding the beast."

I've always wondered how that works. Do they put " unknown " for father on the birth certificate and all other paperwork? Because that seems to be the only way they could get welfare benefits as a single parent without the father just having to pay it back to the state in child support. How awful for the kids if they can't even be acknowledged by their dad!

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I've always wondered how that works. Do they put " unknown " for father on the birth certificate and all other paperwork? Because that seems to be the only way they could get welfare benefits as a single parent without the father just having to pay it back to the state in child support. How awful for the kids if they can't even be acknowledged by their dad!

I've always wondered how that works too considering that where I live they won't even let you apply for benefits without naming a potential father so that they can get a court ordered DNA test and an order for child support if there's a match. I remember being told this by a social worker when I applied for benefits with my oldest when his dad skipped out on us. You kind of have to wonder why the state isn't prosecuting anyone for fraud? I mean if anyone else was living with their baby's daddy and getting welfare they'd get caught and they'd be prosecuted. I know it happens as a close family friend used to work for DSS as a fraud investigator. Is it because they're a religious cult? Is it because others in the community are also Mormon and maybe sympathetic? Do they let it slide because of concern for the welfare of the children involved? The social workers aren't stupid they know these women aren't promiscuous, so they have to know that the mothers know damn well who the father is. So why is it that they seem to turn a blind eye to it? They have to know it occurs if random people on a internet discussion board know all about it

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Maybe they are just getting food stamps which doesn't have the strict guidelines that cash benefits have:

sltrib.com/news/ci_11368343

I know Christine from the Brown family got food stamps. But did she get cash?

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I've always wondered how that works too considering that where I live they won't even let you apply for benefits without naming a potential father so that they can get a court ordered DNA test and an order for child support if there's a match. I remember being told this by a social worker when I applied for benefits with my oldest when his dad skipped out on us. You kind of have to wonder why the state isn't prosecuting anyone for fraud? I mean if anyone else was living with their baby's daddy and getting welfare they'd get caught and they'd be prosecuted. I know it happens as a close family friend used to work for DSS as a fraud investigator. Is it because they're a religious cult? Is it because others in the community are also Mormon and maybe sympathetic? Do they let it slide because of concern for the welfare of the children involved? The social workers aren't stupid they know these women aren't promiscuous, so they have to know that the mothers know damn well who the father is. So why is it that they seem to turn a blind eye to it? They have to know it occurs if random people on a internet discussion board know all about it

I have been watching "What Love is This" and listening to Kristen Deckers radio program. I believe that some former polygamist believe the state(s) turn a blind eye to polygamy because of the isolation of the FLDS communities. I have no clue if that is correct. But it makes me wonder why the authorities do not intervene?

(On a side note, do you think they purposely released the decision on a Friday evening? I almost missed this story completely.)

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It sounds like it is decriminalized, but no one can start getting multiple legal marriage licenses. Which just brings them on par with other states.

Personally, I don't care how other adults want to run their love lives. It's not for me, but if the parties involved are all mentally capable and it is not a predatory situation, IDGAF what they do.

Other states have common law marriages. Utah may be the only one that uses it to prostitute polygamists. But, Utah has had to deal with more open polygamists then any other state out there. Utah has a history of only prosecuting polygamists that are involved in child rape or child abuse (ie Tom Green). They only press a case when they have enough evidence to prosecute it. Utah has no desire for a PR nightmare al la YFZ ranch.

Honestly, I dont think the browns were ever in legal danger. Yes, the state had to investigate them. They flashed their ass at the law so what do you expect. But, I dont think that they state was going to press charges. All of the wives were of age at the time of marriage. They made it into a big deal because it was good for ratings. It also gave them a new story line.

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I have been watching "What Love is This" and listening to Kristen Deckers radio program. I believe that some former polygamist believe the state(s) turn a blind eye to polygamy because of the isolation of the FLDS communities. I have no clue if that is correct. But it makes me wonder why the authorities do not intervene?

(On a side note, do you think they purposely released the decision on a Friday evening? I almost missed this story completely.)

It's not uncommon for courts to release decisions on Friday. Kansas appellate courts do it and I am sure other states do. Irritates attorneys, who then have a weekend to celebrate or stew over the loss.

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