Blog


Polygamy Law Partially Decriminalized in Utah December 17, 2013

In what many conservatives both predicted and feared would happen, the logic of same-sex marriage to opening up the door to other forms of marriage is coming true. Last Friday, a federal judge in Utah lifted a portion of the state's ban on polygamy, ruling that while an individual is still barred from entering more than one marriage at a time, individuals are no longer prohibited from cohabitating with one another on grounds of religious freedom. In essence, practicing polygamy is now legal. According to RNS,

U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups’ ruling attacked sections of Utah’s laws against cohabitation, saying in his decision that the phrase “or cohabits with another person” is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments.In his decision, Waddoups, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, writes that while there is no “fundamental right” to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to “religious cohabitation.”

According to Andrew Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, writing in National Review:

Critics of the sexual liberation movement, and in particular, same-sex marriage, have long conjectured that redefining marriage to include same-sex persons would open the door to further revision. Once the norms of marriage are based on undefined and vague conceptions of “liberty” and “equality” without addressing the substantive issues of defining what marriage is, marriage can no longer be said to be fixed, but elastic and subject to the demands of democratic fiat.

Once the norms of marriage that give it shape — permanency, complementarity, monogamy, and exclusivity — are removed, no principle of logic based on appeals to an undefined conception of “equality” can restrict any number of persons from entering what they believe is a marriage. The logic of the sexual liberation movement lacks the necessary limiting principle to deny polygamists their own attempt at “marriage equality.”

 



Back to blog