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Utah Polygamy Law Declared Unconstitutional


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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.

 

Judge Clark Waddoups’ 91-page ruling, issued Friday, sets a new legal precedent in Utah, effectively decriminalizing polygamy. It is the latest development in a lawsuit filed by the family of Kody Brown, who became famous while starring in cable TV channel TLC’s reality series "Sister Wives." The show entered a fourth season at the end of the summer.

 

Waddoups’ ruling attacks the parts of Utah’s law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of both the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no "fundamental right" to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to "religious cohabitation." In the 1800s — when the mainstream LDS Churh still practiced polygamy — "religious cohabitation" in Utah could have actually resulted in "multiple purportedly legal marriages." Today, however, simply living together doesn’t amount to being "married," Waddoups writes.

 

"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.

 

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-ruling-polygamy-sltrib.html.csp

The thread on this topic in General Discussions has been merged.

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The decision:

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/191414121/Sister-Wives-Ruling

 

(I haven't read it yet.  For whatever it may be worth, I may have further comment once I do.)

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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.

 

Judge Clark Waddoups’ 91-page ruling, issued Friday, sets a new legal precedent in Utah, effectively decriminalizing polygamy. It is the latest development in a lawsuit filed by the family of Kody Brown, who became famous while starring in cable TV channel TLC’s reality series "Sister Wives." The show entered a fourth season at the end of the summer.

 

Waddoups’ ruling attacks the parts of Utah’s law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of both the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no "fundamental right" to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to "religious cohabitation." In the 1800s — when the mainstream LDS Churh still practiced polygamy — "religious cohabitation" in Utah could have actually resulted in "multiple purportedly legal marriages." Today, however, simply living together doesn’t amount to being "married," Waddoups writes.

 

"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.

 

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-ruling-polygamy-sltrib.html.csp

 

Oh, I am sure that the Feds, and the Fundies will jump right on that.

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Had a look at Kody and his family. Not Mormon, just saying.

Not officially Mormon, but they read our canon and prescribed scriptures, live our standards etc. They are basically more Mormon than the Mormons in some respects. They are the beginning to the end, living the meat Mormons. ETA: They are what modern Mormons would look like if Utah didn't need to quit polygamy to get statehood, imo.

The anti polygamists that are fighting against the sects like Warren Jeffs crowd and the Kingston group, besides others, are not happy about this announcement, I'm sure.

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Had a look at Kody and his family. Not Mormon, just saying.

"Kody and family are very much Mormons" using exactly the same rationale that "Latter - day Saints are Christians."

Many modern Mormon polygamists believe in the Book of Mormon (as well as most cannonical Mormon texts) and view them as sacred texts, regard Smith and Young as prophets, honor the priesthood, believe in the plan of salvation and continuing revelation, participate in most Mormon ordinances, take the sacrament, attend relief society and Sunday school, wear CTR rings, carry triple combinations, youth attend seminary, kids attend primary,etc.

I see no compelling rationale that LDS could justifiably use to argue to exclude and prohibit polygamists from self-designating themselves as "Mormons" that couldn't equally be used to likewise counter and cancel LDS's claims that Latter-day Saints should thenselves be considered "Christian" by other non-LDS Christian denominations. Otherwise, those who cry foul and claim to be victims of unjust exclusion become the perpetrators of it.

Kudos to the court for finally upholding religious liberty and allow Mormon polygamists (as well as polygamists of other/no Faiths) the ability to practice their life in peace.

I believe it's appropriate that this ruling occurred prior to recognizing same-sex civil marriage in Utah, as well. It's about time we stopped forcing these people to live in the shadows and come out of obscurity.

Daniel

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"Kody and family are very much Mormons" using exactly the same rationale that "Latter - day Saints are Christians."

Kudos to the court for finally upholding religious liberty and allow Mormon polygamists (as well as polygamists of other/no Faiths) the ability to practice their religion in peace.

I believe it's appropriate that this ruling occurred prior to recognizing same-sex civil marriage in Utah, as well. It's about time we stopped forcing these people to live in the shadows and come out of obscurity.

Darin

Oh, polygamy is not the issue for me. If everyone agrees, and there is no weirdness like 14 year old girls marrying 50 year old guys, no one is abused and just normal common sense is carried out, let them.

 

I just don't know Mormons with beards and bushy hair and women with burned out hair, and the guy being the center of it all. Their whole "thing" is just not something I have seen in Mormon culture.

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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.

 

Judge Clark Waddoups’ 91-page ruling, issued Friday, sets a new legal precedent in Utah, effectively decriminalizing polygamy. 

 

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-polygamy-waddoups-ruling.html.csp

 

If polygamy becomes legal in Utah, what implications for the church?

 

Section 132 still lives on in our scriptures. I've been reading through OD1. Is this an concession by the church to simply obey the law and not to end polygamy as a doctrine? Polygamy is still practiced in the temple. A man who has a civil divorce can retain his celestial sealing and then be sealed to a second woman. Many men have been sealed to two women after the first wife dies.

 

So if it's no longer illegal, will the church accept it as a practice among their membership?

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http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-polygamy-waddoups-ruling.html.csp

 

If polygamy becomes legal in Utah, what implications for the church?

 

Section 132 still lives on in our scriptures. I've been reading through OD1. Is this an concession by the church to simply obey the law and not to end polygamy as a doctrine? Polygamy is still practiced in the temple. A man who has a civil divorce can retain his celestial sealing and then be sealed to a second woman. Many men have been sealed to two women after the first wife dies.

 

So if it's no longer illegal, will the church accept it as a practice among their membership?

 

That's what the church told them 100+ years ago. :lazy:   There won't be any effect on the Church.  Some members, Well I suspect some will push the boundaries.

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It is kind of entertaining to watch the world make a complete flip-flop on this and mock the church from both sides.  I believe this is one example of why the church is especially careful about changing things for cultural reasons.  They were criticized early for being too accepting of minorities, opposing slavery, supporting a wider definition of marriage than their counterparts, etc.  Now they are criticized for not being accepting enough of minorities and having too narrow a definition of marriage.

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http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56894145-78/utah-polygamy-waddoups-ruling.html.csp

 

If polygamy becomes legal in Utah, what implications for the church?

 

Section 132 still lives on in our scriptures. I've been reading through OD1. Is this an concession by the church to simply obey the law and not to end polygamy as a doctrine? Polygamy is still practiced in the temple. A man who has a civil divorce can retain his celestial sealing and then be sealed to a second woman. Many men have been sealed to two women after the first wife dies.

 

So if it's no longer illegal, will the church accept it as a practice among their membership?

 

No! Just because something is legal doesn't mean we should do it. Polygamy is legal in some countries the Church is in. We excommunicate them as fast as we do here in the US.

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It is kind of entertaining to watch the world make a complete flip-flop on this and mock the church from both sides.  I believe this is one example of why the church is especially careful about changing things for cultural reasons.  They were criticized early for being too accepting of minorities, opposing slavery, supporting a wider definition of marriage than their counterparts, etc.  Now they are criticized for not being accepting enough of minorities and having too narrow a definition of marriage.

 

The not being accepting enough of minorities always seemed incongruous because the Church sends missionaries everywhere. 

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Not officially Mormon, but they read our canon and prescribed scriptures, live our standards etc. They are basically more Mormon than the Mormons in some respects. They are the beginning to the end, living the meat Mormons. ETA: They are what modern Mormons would look like if Utah didn't need to quit polygamy to get statehood, imo.

The anti polygamists that are fighting against the sects like Warren Jeffs crowd and the Kingston group, besides others, are not happy about this announcement, I'm sure.

Hi Tacenda.

There are lots of polygynous families living in the West, and their neighbors know who they are.  The police and prosecutors pretty much leave them alone, unless they cause trouble, or try to marry young girls.  With Judge Waddoups' ruling, polygyny as cohabitation becomes untouchable -- as long as the marriages are not sanctioned by government.  However, it is likely that even those restrictions will be overturned and polygyny will become officially legal, as it it in Muslim countries.

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So what was the revelation to end polygamy? Stop because of legality issues or stop because it's no longer an approved practice? If the latter, why is it still practiced in the temple?

 

Well that is the real question as far as the church is concerned.  Was the manifesto (aka "revelation" to end polygamy) issued by God to save the church from the legal repercussions or because God didn't want polygamy to be practiced by the saints any more?

 

If the manifesto was issued, even by direct revelation, mainly to protect the church from legal issues and those legal issues no longer are a concern, then living polygamy should be allowed in the church.

If the manifesto was issued because God no longer wanted polygamy practiced then nothing should change as God still forbids it.

 

So that is the question - why was the "revelation" known as the manifesto issued?

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So what was the revelation to end polygamy? Stop because of legality issues or stop because it's no longer an approved practice? If the latter, why is it still practiced in the temple?

 

The polygamous Temple marriage concerns are for the next life where presumably State laws are not applicable. If God wants to he could return it to mortality today. I don't foresee him doing that, but he could if he wanted to.

 

The thread on this topic in General Discussions has been merged.

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Kudos to the court for finally upholding religious liberty and allow Mormon polygamists (as well as polygamists of other/no Faiths) the ability to practice their life in peace.

I believe it's appropriate that this ruling occurred prior to recognizing same-sex civil marriage in Utah, as well. It's about time we stopped forcing these people to live in the shadows and come out of obscurity.

 

Apples and oranges.  Only one of those is being proposed to be recognized by the state.  But I do agree that consenting adults should be free to enter into whatever relationship they choose.  Only heterosexual marriage (monogamous and/or plural) however, deserves to be recognized and benefited (welfare) by the state.

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Oh, polygamy is not the issue for me. If everyone agrees, and there is no weirdness like 14 year old girls marrying 50 year old guys, no one is abused and just normal common sense is carried out, let them.

 

I generally agree, however 14 year olds can still marry (with parental consent) in several states back east iirc.  As a side note, this is would be evidence that the accusation against JS of "marrying 14 years olds" is presentism.

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I generally agree, however 14 year olds can still marry (with parental consent) in several states back east iirc.  As a side note, this is would be evidence that the accusation against JS of "marrying 14 years olds" is presentism.

Quite true.  One should note, for example, that the Marquis de Lafayette (the great hero and lieutenant general of the American Revolution) married his sweetheart when he was 16 and she 14.  This was entirely normal in his time.  During our Revolution, all fit males 16 and over were officially part of the armed militia which fought the British.  Today, we don't permit anyone under 17 to enter the armed forces of the United States (and we require that they have a HS diploma, something not true only 30 years ago).

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. A man who has a civil divorce can retain his celestial sealing and then be sealed to a second woman. Many men have been sealed to two women after the first wife dies.

 

So if it's no longer illegal, will the church accept it as a practice among their membership?

So ask those divorced women and see how many view themselves as still sealed or married to their exhusbands in any meaningful way. Plus the fact that the sealing of a divorced woman is canceled when replaced by another sealing turns that sealing to the ex to pretty much a placeholder that recognises the sealing that is intact is with God, not the exhusband.

Many justify the current policy of sealing a woman to all her husbands by claiming that all the sealings but one will be dissolved. Iow for every woman who would have a sealing nullified that way, there is a man having a nullification as well. So men's sealings are viewed as just as flexible as women's doctrinally and policy speaking.

Thus there is no way, IMO, to be able to claim that based on how sealings are currently viewed polygyny will be a certainty in the next life and thus will be restored in this one to make it more in line spiritually.

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So what was the revelation to end polygamy? Stop because of legality issues or stop because it's no longer an approved practice? If the latter, why is it still practiced in the temple?

 

It was that it has to be approved and the invitation issued by those with the keys for plural marriage (aka the Apostles). If you want to form a plural marriage get it cleared with your Bishop and Stake President and petition the Apostles. Good luck.

 

 

Not officially Mormon, but they read our canon and prescribed scriptures, live our standards etc. They are basically more Mormon than the Mormons in some respects. They are the beginning to the end, living the meat Mormons. ETA: They are what modern Mormons would look like if Utah didn't need to quit polygamy to get statehood, imo.

The anti polygamists that are fighting against the sects like Warren Jeffs crowd and the Kingston group, besides others, are not happy about this announcement, I'm sure.

 

I think they missed the whole Priesthood Keys and following the Prophet parts.

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