Comments about ‘Judge in 'Sister Wives' case asks for definition of polygamy’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 8:15 p.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended

Oh come on, the Brown's were not forced to leave Utah. The narcissistic ego maniacal pater familia of the Brown clan (Cody)wanted to move to Vegas. The whole state investigation was overblown and overhyped for TV ratings. In addition, the church likes to make a big point out of prosecuting polygamy to continue to convince everyone that they are against it and have banned it despit the fact they mostly turn a blind eye.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

So if they just wouldn't say they were married then the legal issue would go away, then it just becomes one married couple who happens to allow affairs. That seems to be the problem. If the Browns aren't willing to take that view then it would seem they want the state to allow a polygamous marriage situation. The state, meanwhile, needs to find some way to prosecute them, for more than the Browns saying that they're polygamous, which is where the child abuse/endangerment/cohabitation comes into play. It's all just a semantic mess.

Al Thepal
Salt Lake City, UT

What part of the 1st amendment do some people not understand? I personally don't want to practice polygamy and my religion specifically doesn't allow it at this time. But that doesn't mean that the government can violate the rights of others who think it is part of their religion to practice polygamy.

Cedar City, UT

Leave them be. They aren't hurting anyone.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Don’t try to correct Happy Valley Heretic. He vehemently calls people liars who do not believe 49.2% or 43.7% constitute a majority, so we know he has no credibility.

In some ways you are correct, but in others, I’m afraid I disagree. When polygamists collect welfare for the “single mothers” and their children that all live together in the same compound rather than supporting themselves, I do not think one can properly say that they accept responsibility for their actions.

But the issue was not the relative morality, but what the difference is between polygamists and the participants in an affair.

Deep Space 9, Ut

It is funny to read this article and remember that in the past I have said that polygamy will be justified using similar arguments that gay marriage advocates use. Well, here we go. I am just wondering why the liberals are not out there screaming that this should be legalized like they did with gay marriage.

Brigham City, UT

Lost: Certainly you know from my post that I realize there are instances in which responsibility is not taken. That happens in all aspects of society, not just polygamy. But that is also not the point.

Lehi, UT

Based on the .08 and .07 blood alcohol limits premise, here’s something to consider You can drink at home but not drink and drive. Oh, this one is better - presently, you can have one beer and still legally allowed to drive. But you cannot have lots of beers and still allowed to drive. Why? Well the more beers the less safe it is. Therefore we need to get some reliable irrefutable data that connect abuse DIRECTLY to polygamous marriages, and that the risks/likelihood of abuse are greater in polygamous families than monogamous ones. I'm sure there's enough data out there. Then the government can stand by the one beer/wife law - safer and more constructive to society than lots of beers/wives (2 or more). Now that is not a kitchen sink argument.

Boise, ID

The one-husband-one-wife marriage relationship is the one most likely to provide familial success, in my opinion. (And I believe history would support that notion.)

That being said...

With all the ongoing strife and ill feelings with regards to marriage, I'm wondering if maybe the government get out of the "marriage" business. Rather than issue a marriage license, they could issue a civil union license which conveys the various civic perks. The "marriage" would then be performed in the church, if the couple (or triple or whatever) is so inclined, and assming it's sanctioned by the church, of course.

(I have reservations about the government sponsoring such relationships in the form of various welfare programs. But that problem isn't exclusive to polygamous families, and is a separate issue.)


Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

lost in DC said: " When polygamists collect welfare for the “single mothers” and their children that all live together in the same compound rather than supporting themselves, I do not think one can properly say that they accept responsibility for their actions."

Does using the word "Compound" instead of Home make you feel better?
If they were married then the government can keep track of mothers and fathers to prevent fraud just like this, and to allow them to come out of hiding.

"But the issue was not the relative morality, but what the difference is between polygamists and the participants in an affair."

lost in DC said: I suppose the late Prophet Brigham Young or many other pillars of Utah's history could tell you the difference, but I don't think they felt like it was just a way to cheat on your wife.

Mom of ten

Just because two or more people state that they are married, does not make it so. Prove it with legal documentation and then there is something to discuss. And though I would not want a polygamous relationship, I really can not see why it is illegal. At least they want to be legally responsible for their children. By legalizing these marriage, it would place the burden of any children onto the mother and father's legal shoulders. Is that not better than all the unattached adults running around like dogs, dropping their litters where ever they have them? Harsh, maybe, but really...!


The question presented is not about semantics, welfare, or child abuse, but equal application of the law. Strictly speaking, to fulfill his oath of office, Jensen should prosecute the Browns who are in admitted violation of the state's bigamy law. There are also other pre-twentieth century morality laws that forbid fornication, adultery, and sodomy on the books of Utah and other states. Again, strictly speaking, Jensen, and other prosecutors should be enforcing those other morality laws as well. The article implies what we all know, when concerning consenting adults, violation morality laws are not prosecuted. It is this apparent dichotomy that brings the question “What is the difference between consenting adults engaged in an affair and consenting adults in a polygamous marriage?” Jensen skirted the question with a child-abuse response, which is weak. All relationships that involve children potentially involve abuse. That is why there are laws against acts of abuse rather than laws against (generally speaking), the relationships. Can we be a just society and ignore one set of morality laws between consenting adults, but enforce another that is also between consenting adults, simply because one is labeled adultery and the other bigamy?

Brigham City, UT

Kouger officially cracks me up.

Sacramento, CA

Maudine, these types of cases are as much about looking forward to what should be as they are looking backward at what has been up to now the way it is. Perhaps the laws have been based on one particular model, driven by one single belief. What this case discusses is, is that how it should be, is this case one example of a valid change we should allow, and what law do we make, should we allow this change, to protect all parties as we allow this change going forward? I am not an attorney, but common sense and a lot of reading and decent intelligence tell me this is a fairly accurate read of this situation.

Park City, UT

It's interesting that some think that a man marrying two women is so sick and wrong, yet those same people think that 2 men (or women) should be able to marry each other. I actually personally don't care either way, I'm just making an observation.

I agree that they should just live together without saying that they are "married". It's not officially recognized as marriage, so why put yourself in the crosshairs of Johnny Law?


Dektol said: "You aren't married unless the State issues a license. Living together, no matter what you call the partners is not marriage."
This is the Correct answer. What happens between consenting adults is none of the governments business. The U.S. Supreme court upheld this years ago.

Sacramento, CA

With all the concern that anti-polygamy laws are supposed to help prevent child abuse, I have a couple of thoughts. One--if polygamy is legal, the people, including every new spouse, will need to present themselves to obtain another marriage certificate to be filled out and signed, and signed by the other spouses as well. This will prevent underage people from marrying. Two--it is recognised that having a teacher and an assistant in a class is better for young students, allowing more attention per child. So how could it not be better if mothers who are consenting adults as in the Brown family work together to rear their children? While personally, it's not my cup of hot chocolate, I can see why, for those who would feel drawn to that way of life, knowing it would be not be something to be hidden any longer would certainly allow one the ability to do what life demands daily without stress on parents or children. Isn't that better for everyone? PS...yes, I'm a liberal, for anyone who gives a care.

Laura Jane
Hilton Head, SC

I've really tried hard for so many years to understand a man that would want more than one wife? For some reason, my mind goes back to our small cattle ranch in Oklahoma. I can never forget that prize bull. We had so many new calves that one spring. Not to pick on this family because they are real people and not animals, but WE are NOT animals. I actually blame the woman more than the men. I would like to load all the females and take you out to a pasture to watch how the cows behave when the "prize bull" is turned loose. Come on girls, we have two legs not four. And believe you me, we have enough men to go around that we can have one all to our self. Just saying..I guess, I REALLY DON'T get it.

Provo, UT

The freedom of religion covers polygamy too. All polygamy is, is having one wife and several mistresess. Nothing wrong with that since they are consenting adults. If there was anything wrong with having a mistress our jails would be full to overflowing with people. Cody and his family don't live off of the government.

Paris, 00

Polygamy is a crime when it is forcesd by a religious system and the man can marry as many wives as he sees it fit ... sometimes up to over 40 ... and fathers hundred of children ... and the question of abuse, support, proper care, love and attention is raised as well as free will decision making.

THis said if some people want to consensually marry a man like Kody and everyone is taken care for, provided for and no abuse happens .... i think it is their right as long as the number of women is limited ...... (and it should because otherwise it is men just being lustful ... and having sex with all the girls he wants ... which is really disgusting ... (and in my books i dont think it should be more than two or three wives)...

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments