Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Polygamy, Cohabitation And Sodomy Laws interact

Back in August I digressed to look at the history of Mormon Polygamy and its implications for the historic legal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.  

In the case of  Brown et al v. Herbert et al 2:11-cv-00652 a US District Court Judge has also had to consider the history of Anti Mormon Polygamy Laws in Utah.  In a complicated decision the Court struck down elements of a Utah Law which prohibited multiple, ie polyamorous, cohabitation and which also prohibited entering into a second or more "marriage" ceremony even if the second or other marriages were never legally registered.  The purpose of the Statute as was accepted was to prevent members of minor, Mormon, Polygamous groups conducting religious, but not legally valid, plural marriages.

The Judge struck down the law using a famous US Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas - 539 U.S. 558 (2003) where the US Supreme Court had struck down a Texas Anti-Sodomy statute which had criminalised consensual homosexual conduct.  The Supreme Court had held that such a statute interfered with a right to privacy and the Utah Court held that the same principle applied to consensual polyamory

1 comment:

Paul de Mello (jnr) said...

On the same day you published this article, North Dakota AG gave ok for inter-stat "bi-polygamy" ! http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2013/12/north-dakota-ag-opines-that-man-in-same-sex-marriage-may-marry-woman.html