polygamy1The following comes from a Dec. 14 story on Breitbart.com.

….In his 91-page opinion in Brown v. Buhman, on Dec. 13, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down Utah’s law making polygamy a crime. In so doing, he may have opened Pandora’s Box.

As a condition for becoming a state in 1896, Congress required Utah to outlaw polygamy, which is marriage between three or more persons. This case involved a family of fundamentalist offshoots of nineteenth-century Mormonism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints disavowed polygamy in 1890, and again in 1904, but some splinter groups continue the practice.

Waddoups’ opinion would not only cover such groups, however, but also Muslims or anyone else who claims a right—religious or otherwise—to have multiple-person marriages. He notes that the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy in its 1878 case Reynolds v. U.S., but said he cannot simply rest upon that decision “without seriously addressing the much developed constitutional jurisprudence that now protects individuals from the criminal consequences intended by legislatures to apply to certain personal choices.”

….This lawsuit is the brainchild of Prof. Jonathan Turley at George Washington University. He’s designed a two-step strategy, piggybacking on same-sex marriage: first, decriminalize polygamy, then assert a right to official recognition of polygamy.

As Turley explained in previous court filings, he believes there is a “right to self-determination of private relations and family matters free of government intrusion.” He noted that many oppose polygamy, and goes on to assert that polygamists “are entitled to protection from such majoritarian animus and bias vis-à-vis their private lifestyles and relations. Their status under domestic law is a civil rights issue deserving the same protections afforded to homosexuals and other minority groups.”

The exact legal arguments for same-sex marriage equally apply to multiple-person marriages. Turley acknowledges that marriage laws that do not include both are “a tool for the imposition of a uniform moral agenda or tenets on citizens.”

Turley then goes on to make clear he is not only arguing for the form of polygamy technically called polygyny, which is one man with multiple women. In other words, he also argues for a right to polyandry (one woman with multiple men) and polyamory (multiple men with multiple women).

….While keeping in place for now the Utah law against issuing multiple marriage certificates for polygamous marriage (the second step of the Turley strategy), [Waddoups] invalidated the criminal law against multiple adults cohabiting together as a family, which is the core of the laws against polygamy.

This case will likely now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

To read the entire posting, click here.