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US: In lawsuit based on sodomy ruling, judge rules that Utah’s polygamy law is unconstitutional

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  1. Bobbleobble 17 Dec 2013, 1:43pm

    You need to be careful here with terminology. The judgement does not decriminalise polygamy but rather cohabitation. You can still only marry one person in Utah but what you can do now is live with more than one person in a multi-partner family unit if you so choose without fear of prosecution by the state. That’s something that was already possible in the other 49 states and indeed here. It’s important to get the terminology right, especially in a paper supportive of gay issues, since you know those against us will be twisting what happened to use as a weapon in our fight for SSM worldwide.

  2. PantoHorse 17 Dec 2013, 1:48pm

    This is one of the reasons I find this site’s cut and paste style of ‘journalism’ so irritating. In what way did the family’s lawsuit rely on the ruling to decriminalise sodomy? How is the decriminalisation of sodomy related to polygamy? What features of this earlier ruling were relevant?

    1. The real problem with this “report” is that not the whole polygamy law was thrown out. But only the part about cohabitation with a person who is not your spouse. That is not usually called polygamy. It is legal in all the other 49 states and Washington, DC.

  3. YOu have been reading too many U.S. hate groups that say marriage equality leads to polygamy. A) the Judge did not rule that polygamy is legal; he ruled that Utah’s law, which bans professing to be a polygamist and cohabiting is unconstitutional. B) the ruling was not based on Lawrence v. Texas (though that is one among many, many cases that are cited in the ruling). Take a deep breath. Polygamy is not legal in the Utah or any other place in the U.S. The ruling, means, however, that people cannot be jailed for “professing” that they are “married” to more than one person and that people cannot be jailed for cohabiting with more than one person. C) The basis for the ruling was the constitutional protection of religious belief, that bogeyman that is often cited by right-wingers as being endangered by same-sex marriage. Lots of irony abounds, but your headline and story are way off base.

  4. Bobbleobble 17 Dec 2013, 2:01pm

    I tried to post this before but it hasn’t shown up for some reason. The judge didn’t decriminalise polygamy at all. You still only have the right I marry one person in Utah. What he did was allow three or more consenting adults to live together as a family unit should they choose to do so, something which was already legal in other states and in the UK.

    It’s important to get the terminology right, multiple partners cohabiting is now allowed, something which gives no legal status in Utah. Polygamy is still illegal.

  5. With people in these types of relationships, when they have dozens of children and cannot afford to pay for their raising their relationship becomes a burden on all tax payers.
    That’s not a right.

    1. I’m assuming you are against gay marriage too then? Because to not be with that sort of generalising comment would be very hypocritical…These are consenting adults wanting to live this way. End of story…

    2. Midnighter 17 Dec 2013, 9:54pm

      I’m missing the part where it is mandatory for all women in the relationship to be continually unemployed and / or pregnant.

      The economic efficiency of a group of adults sharing resources and a home likely makes this a higher contributing family unit than the type you are used to.

  6. The law in question is not the ban on polygamy, which remains in place. It is still illegal to enter into multiple legally binding marriages.

    The law which has been struck down criminalised adultery in limited circumstances. It was a criminal offence to take a second spouse in a non-legal religious ceremony, or to use religious justifications to cohabit with someone other than a legal spouse. The law mostly affected polygamous Mormons.

    The judge concluded that consensual sexual activity, including adulterous activity, is constitutionally protected and cannot be criminalised. That is where the courts’ sodomy rulings came in.

    The judge also concluded it was unconstitutional to treat religious relationships differently from secular ones. A Mormon with a legal wife and a religious “wife” was a criminal, but an atheist with a wife and a girlfriend was not.

    Now all Utahns can be legally polyamorous, even the religious ones. But the law will still recognise only one spouse.

  7. Article starts of with this: “…effectively decriminalising polygamy in the state”
    But on the actual ruling, it says this: “It said that, while there was no “fundamental right” to practice polygamy…”

    Urmm.

    1. Midnighter 18 Dec 2013, 8:18pm

      You have no fundamental right to watch TV, but you are permitted to because doing so falls under other liberties and rights afforded and acknowledged by the state.

      What I believe he’s saying is that he doesn’t need to expressly legislate to support this specific thing as it is a freedom already protected by other statutes (i.e. the constitution).

      At the same time he has removed a law he saw as being contrary to the constitution in that it tried to limit freedoms that were guaranteed by the constitution.

  8. Criminalizing people’s private lives makes absolutely no sense. I’m not sure if polygamous marriages (which is not the object of the ruling) is right or wrong, but I don’t care with how many men and women one goes to bed; nor should the State.

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