Judge Rules Polygamy Ban Violates Religious Freedom

Judge Rules Polygamy Ban Violates Religious Freedom

A judge has ruled that part of the law banning polygamy violates religious freedom. The ruling comes after Kody Brown, a fundamentalist Mormon known for the reality TV show “Sister Wives,” filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah when he fled the state to avoid being charged with bigamy. 

Polygamous marriage is illegal in the United States and the Mormon church banned the practice in 1890. Utah also bans marrying one person and then living with others who are considered spouses. Fundamentalist Mormons usually legally marry one woman and then have “spiritual unions” with other wives.

But district judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the Utah law is a violation of religious freedom.

"While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our religious beliefs," Brown said in response to the ruling.

"Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs."

Gov. Gary Herbert said this week he disagrees with the decision.

“I think it's probably not good policy and good practice for families to have that kind of a situation, so that's my own provincial view of traditional marriage," he said.

The ruling is expected to be appealed.

Publication date: August 29, 2014