Get ready to feel sympathetic towards people who creep you out! The stars of TLC’s reality show Sister Wives plan to file a lawsuit challenging Utah’s anti-bigamy law , which seems, at its base, to be an anachronistic intrusion into people’s private lives. Although it’s not the only state with such a law, Utah’s is particularly strict, including “cohabitation” on its list of no nos. If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching Big Love, it’s that this law was made by the state’s LDS-controlled government in an effort to distance the “nice, normal Mormons” from the crazy fundamentalists who live on compounds. Methinks the Mormon church doth protest too much.
Via Yahoo News/The AP:
Originally from Lehi, the Browns, who have 16 children, has been featured on the TLC reality show since last fall. They moved out of Utah to Nevada in January after police and Utah County prosecutors launched a bigamy investigation. No charges were ever filed.
The Browns practice polygamy as part of their religious beliefs.
Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah. A person can be found guilty of bigamy through cohabitation, not just legal marriage contracts.
In a statement posted on his blog, Turley said the lawsuit will challenge Utah’s right to prosecute people for their private relationships.
“We are not demanding the recognition of polygamous marriage. We are only challenging the right of the state to prosecute people for their private relations and demanding equal treatment with other citizens in living their lives according to their own beliefs. […] In that sense, it is a challenge designed to benefit not just polygamists but all citizens who wish to live their lives according to their own values – even if those values run counter to those of the majority in the state,” Turley wrote.
In an age in which no sex thing you could possibly do will shock anyone at all, it’s sort of wild to think that Mormon fundamentalists, who have been doing this shit since the 1820s, still have to worry about the state going after them for living their lives the way they’ve convinced themselves God wants them to. I’m not a huge fan of the Mormon philosophy, which tends to be pretty sexist, and I think the state should absolutely still prosecute fringe groups when they engage in truly harmful practices (like child brides, ugh), but it’s every adult person’s right to consent to whatever kind of weird living arrangement they want to. It also infringes on freedom of religion, which the U.S. constitution seems to think is a pretty huge deal.
Anyway, I never thought I’d say this, but go Mormons. Fight for your right to cohabitate. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end with pimp daddy Kody Brown lying in a pool of his own blood, having a vision about feminism.