SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has paved the way for further arguments over a former Lehi polygamist family's challenge of Utah's bigamy law.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups denied the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Kody Brown and his four wives. The state sought to have the suit thrown out after Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman adopted a formal policy not to prosecute the practice of bigamy unless it occurs in conjunction with another crime or if a party to the marriage or relationship is under 18.

In his ruling, Waddoups said the timing of the policy suggests it was adopted to "evade" a review of the Browns' case on its merits. He noted the policy came 18 months after the county began investigating the Browns, lacked public notice and lacked reasoning for adopting it.

The Brown family is featured in the TLC reality series "Sister Wives." They moved to Nevada in January 2011, a few months after Utah County threatened to prosecute them under the bigamy statute.

Dennis Romboy

Twitter: dennisromboy