The constitutionality of polygamy has already been determined in British Columbia and now it’s coming before the courts of Utah, home base for the polygamous sect of the Mormon faith.
After their significant television exposure, the cast of Sister Wives, Kody Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, Robyn and their seventeen children, received threats of prosecution from Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman. Just like in Canada, polygamy is a criminal offence in Utah.
While no charges were filed against the Brown family, they decided to take matters into their own hands and sued Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney-General Mark Shurtleff, claiming that Utah’s law violates their constitutional rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
The Court allowed their law suit to proceed, but ruled that the Governor and his Attorney-General must be removed as defendants because of the Attorney-General’s policy of not enforcing the polygamy law against consenting adult polygamists who are not committing other crimes.
That leaves prosecutor Jeffrey Buhman as the lone defendant, who made it clear in multiple media interviews, that he intends to prosecute the family, although the Court noted he has not yet done so. Judge Clark Waddoups also voiced his opinion on the Mr. Buhman’s strategy:
“The entirety of actions by the Utah County prosecutors tend to show either an ill-conceived
public relations campaign to showboat their own authority and/or harass the Browns and the
polygamous community at large or to assure the public that they intended to carry out their
public obligations and prosecute violations of the law.”
If the case unfolds as it did in British Columbia, the law against polygamy will survive, just like it did in British Columbia.
Meanwhile, Kody and his family are now living in Las Vegas.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
2 thoughts on “TV’s Polygamous Family Challenges Utah Law”
Thanks for your thoughts. I’m sure you’re aware of the “Polygamy Situation” in Texas, Utah and Arizona. Several years ago Texas Child Protective Services raided a FLDS compound and removed more than 400 children, transferring them to shelters in order to investigate allegations of sexual abuse. The situation is horrifying and confusing for everyone involved, as well as for the general public, who are simply stunned and wonder how such a thing can occur in 21st century America.