Thursday, August 28, 2014

Judge Overturns Utah's Anti-Polygamy Laws

The Daily Mail reports that a federal judge has overturned Utah's laws outlawing polygamy. Utah's laws are the nation's strictest, according to the article, prohibiting not only obtaining more than one marriage license, but also prohibiting a person from co-habitation with multiple people publicly represented as spouses.

The article states that the judge's reasoning was based on violations of the plaintiffs' right to free exercise of religion. Interestingly, this same basic argument had been rejected by the United States Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 (1890), which also involved a challenge to Utah's anti-polygamy laws. I haven't read the judge's decision in this modern case, but it should be interesting to see how he reasons around the Supreme Court precedent.

In any event, given the protection afforded to sexual relationships outside of marriage, and the reasoning for overruling gay marriage, it was inevitable that anti-polygamy laws would also fail. Although this decision only addresses criminal statutes, I would expect to see challenges over the issuance of marriage licenses.

Related Posts: "Freedom of Religion is Very Limited", "An Argument for Legalizing Polygamy" and "The Gay Marriage Slippery Slope."

Related Articles: "Monogamy and the Uniqueness of European Civilization"

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