HELENA, Mont. — Montana officials have denied a marriage license to a man who sought to be legally married to both of his wives after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of gay couples to wed.
Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Kevin Gillen wrote in his letter Tuesday to Nathan Collier that the Supreme Court's ruling last month did not expand the number of people in a marriage and Montana's anti-bigamy laws still apply.
"There is nothing in that ruling that describes the arrangement you seek to establish," Gillen wrote.
"I am not in the business of speculating as to what types of consequences (and new laws) may flow from the recent Supreme Court case," he continued. "However, until such time that laws change, the law of the State of Montana is that bigamy and polygamy are illegal arrangements and, consequently, the Yellowstone County Clerk of District Court is unable to issue such a marriage license."
Collier, 46, legally wed his first wife, Victoria, in 2000. He and his second wife, Christine, held a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 but did not sign a marriage license.
Nathan and Christine Collier applied for a marriage license after the Supreme Court ruling. They were initially denied, but county clerk officials said they would consult with the county attorney's office before giving a final answer.
Nathan Collier said people in polygamous relationships deserve marriage equality, and he is meeting with attorneys with plans to file a lawsuit.
"They want to lock us in cages because we wish to marry," Collier said Thursday. "I could sleep with my wife and procreate out of wedlock and that would be just fine, but if I want to marry her, I'm a criminal."
Collier is a former Mormon who was excommunicated for polygamy and now belongs to no religious organization. He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years but became tired of hiding and went public by appearing on the reality cable television show "Sister Wives."