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Published: Thursday, Dec. 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mountanman
Hayden, ID

" Before you know it, it'll be total anarchy and doing the right thing will be a punishable offense." Eric, that time has arrived already. Reference the Duck Dynasty debacle.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

No, the ruling was undoubtedly correct. It's been clear for some time that Utah's cohabitation law is a historical relic that can't stand up to modern legal scrutiny. As a lawyer and someone with an interest in 19th century legal battles over polygamy, I found the judge's opinion well-informed and well-argued.

Seeking an end to the cohabitation laws is not trying to live without consequences. It's about not getting prosecuted for what appears to be a consensual -- if very strange, IMHO -- living arrangement. That's a far cry from polygamy, or the author's strange fears of anarchy because people are allowed to do things he doesn't agree with.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

All this judge did was to bring Utah closer to the legal "norm" relative to other state laws.

The only change was to remove the "cohabitation" element of Utah's polygamy/bigamy law. And that element doesn't even exist in other state laws (at least some -- I haven't checked all of them).

For example, compare Utah law to Tennessee law:

Utah Criminal Code
76-7-101. Bigamy -- Defense.
(1) A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.
(2) Bigamy is a felony of the third degree.

And here's Tennessee's:

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED
39-15-301. Bigamy.
(a) A person commits bigamy who:
1) Is married and purports to marry a person other than the person's spouse in this state under circumstances that would, but for the person's existing marriage, constitute a marriage....
....
(c) Bigamy is a Class A misdemeanor.

Notice that there is no "cohabitation" provision in Tennessee's code -- and notice that bigamy is a felony in Utah, but only a misdemeanor in TN.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . Utah's cohabitation law is a historical relic that can't stand up to modern legal scrutiny."

Sadly, that "modern legal scrutiny" involves nothing more than taking a quick assessment of the prevailing wind in leftist and Hollywood-elite circles, then using psychobabble and liberal newspeak to justify their deranged, uninformed opinion du jour.

It wasn't always that way. At one time, legal scholars enjoyed well-deserved respect and admiration. No more.

Under today's deranged liberal regime, having an opinion that differs from that of the ruling elite is the worst form of treason. Such thought-treason will get you into deep, deep trouble in their brave new libertine world.

Just ask Phil Robertson.

Sven
Morgan, UT

Folks, this really was very easy to predict.

Marriage has historically been the joining of a man and woman (Wow, what a concept!!). It's been the bedrock of civilizations throughout history. Now that some are trying to redefine marriage to include man and man, and woman and woman...well, the flood gates have been open. Polygamy is just the beginning; we haven't seen anything yet. I'll wager that the NAMBLA types already have their lawyers working up a case for them to be able to marry children. Sound far fetched?

This is the result of trying in vain to normalize a behavior that has never been, is not now, nor will ever be normal. When nations embrace these perversions, their demise is not far. Sad how depraved we've become in our "evolved" state.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@Sven --

"Polygamy is just the beginning; we haven't seen anything yet. I'll wager that the NAMBLA types already have their lawyers working up a case for them to be able to marry children. Sound far fetched?"

Oh PLEASE stop with the fear mongering.

Utah is NOT making polygamy legal. It is ONLY bringing state law into line with laws that have existed in other states for decades already.

"This is the result of trying in vain to normalize a behavior that has never been, is not now, nor will ever be normal. "

Homosexuality is just as "normal" as left-handedness is. Would you like to ban that too?

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

Yes, it took a TV show to bring the law to court, but that doesn't mean the law should not have been challenged - especially since it is so seldom prosecuted anyway.

The way the law was written, it did not just affect polygamists but other people as well. Divorce not quite final because your ex is being a pain and refusing to sign the papers but your lease is up so you move in with your new boyfriend or girlfriend? Felony bigamy.

And while you may not like the challenge or the ruling, that doesn't change the fact that it was about the Constitutionality of the law and the fair treatment of the plaintiffs.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To me it doesn't matter IF plural marriage is legal... I'm not going to participate in it. Just as it doesn't matter to me if gay marriage is legal... I'm not going to participate in it either way.

The only reason I can see for a behavior being illegal is IF... there is a detrimental impact on society by allowing the behavior. I guess you could make that case in either of these. But in the end... regardless of legal/illegal it doesn't matter to me. It's not like I'm going to go out and do either just because they made it legal.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ Sven: Have you ever read the Bible or studied history? Polygamy is rampant in both.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

"you can wine to a federal court ..."

Was it merlot, chardonnay or shariz do you think?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT
To me it doesn't matter IF plural marriage is legal... I'm not going to participate in it. Just as it doesn't matter to me if gay marriage is legal... I'm not going to participate in it either way.

=======

Wowzers 2 bits.
mark it down, for once we can agree on something!

BTW - Welcome to the dark-side.

jsf
Centerville, UT

polygamy will be legal in the United States within 10 years.
First case North Dakota courts allowed the Marriage of two men to go ahead and marry (legally) a women.

Kimber
Salt Lake City, UT

Some don't seem to know the difference between Bigamy and Polygamy. Bigamy is ILLEGAL everywhere and is more than one couple being LEGALLY married. Polygamy is where there may be ONE legal marriage and other "spouses" that are "spiritual" marriages or just co-habitation. If someone borrows or rents a room to somebody (and they are not intimate) that is a lot different than the other two. Both Bigamy and Polygamy causes many problems with finances and support of the larger number of children and has caused much heartache especially for women and children. The Browns may not be guilty of this and each case has to be taken on it's individual merits. But as a rule, the larger polygamy groups often have been guilty of underage "marriage", women feeling they have to do it to get into heaven and overuse of welfare. These things are sad and will continue to be prosecuted as against the law. Also, many women and girls (and some lost boys) can seek help in escaping this lifestyle.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Adult Americans should have the freedom and the right to do as they please so long as they don’t infringe on the freedom and rights of others to do the same. Other than the religious notions, marriage is simply a legal contract between two or more individuals. That contract is not necessarily cast in stone.

Children, non-adults, do not have these freedoms and rights. In truth their status is more like the status of slaves to their parent masters. Beyond rules of humanity, the government has no authority. However, the government sets the rules and can determine the best parental set to insure that the children can grow up to be fully fledged and capable of an American citizen.

Kimber
Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks to the letter writer...good comments and thank you Contrarius...(I am left-handed and I know that people used to think of that as a terrible thing). Now, people know that we are just the same as everyone else and fit into society well. Gay people can fit into society too. We shouldn't judge people by their genetics and so forth, but by their actions. Abusers have hurt people (but that is by actions, not by attributes.)

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Kimber,
Really?? When did people think being left handed was terrible? I think you're being a little over-dramatic about it.

I think people have always known left handed people are just like everyone else and fit into society well. When were left handed people oppressed? Maybe it was before my time.

I think we all know gay people can fit into society too (and people in polygamous families). Has anybody said they can't?

I hope we can stop taking everything to the ludicrous extremes and deal with what people really think/feel (instead of assuming people fit our stereotypes for them or that if you are X you MUST believe Y).

Nobody's saying gay people don't fit in society, or that left handed people don't fit well into society.

Some people may not support redefining "Marriage". But that doesn't automatically mean they hate gay people OR left handed people. They may be OK with gay people and left handed people and just not want to change the traditional definition of "Marriage"...

But if we don't assume extremes and stereotypes about each other... there's a chance we can make progress.

jsf
Centerville, UT

"Bigamy is ILLEGAL everywhere and is more than one couple being LEGALLY married." Not in North Dakota as of last week.

jsf
Centerville, UT

And the false accusations against all polygamists and Bigamists, really, 30 years ago they were saying the same bigoted stories about how bad same sex relations were. If you break down the argument of marriage being between one man and one women, you have nothing to stand on regarding the legal marriage of one man and many women or one women and many men. All the evil hype falls to the floor in such an argument. I love when individuals quote the Canadian law system that polygamy relations ships are subject to harm. Yet they ignore same sex relationships that are harmful, and regular marriages that are harmful, why because they have a close minded bigoted concept of how they view relationships. It must fit their liberal concept of what should be allowed and only their concept will be allowed.

jsf
Centerville, UT

Maybe a quick refresher course, watch the movie "Paint Your Wagon" with Client Eastwood, Lee Marvin, and Jean Seberg.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

While neither practicing or advocating polygamy, it is odd that we criminalize legal commitments to more that one spouse while at the same time ignoring and even glamorizing mistresses and children borne out of wedlock. Former Sen.and presidential candidate John Edwards would only be in legal trouble if he had married the second woman.

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