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Utah

Lawyers for polygamous Brown family preparing for state's appeal

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  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:23 p.m.

    If SSM is legal, I can't see how polygamists can possibly be denied. After all, they are consenting adults who want to get married to satisfy emotional needs. The rest of society can't possibly have any stake in that.

    Do you see the can of worms that has been opened. Pandora's box is pretty hard to close.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    If consenting adults want to live in a polygamous marriage, why shouldn't they? Where is the ACLU?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    Cats and Grady,

    Well said.

    No reason to deny equal rights.

    Where are supporters of equal rights now?

  • J. S. Houston, TX
    Jan. 17, 2014 9:01 p.m.

    @Cats and EdGrady

    Mr. Kody Brown and his four wives should not be prosecuted for their private life.

    However, if they demand the court to legally recognize their "marriage", the judge may rightfully ask: Although Mr. Kody Brown has four wives, each of the 4 wives must share Mr. Kody Brown with 3 other women. Are Mr. Kody Brown and any of his four wives equal in this "marriage"?

    If you can not convince the judge the two people are equal, then no legal polygamy for them.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    These people aren't legally married, they are merely living together. Utah doesn't go after all people who life together. I suppose its to much to ask that we adopt more of a live and let live philosophy and mind our own business?

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:28 p.m.

    We are talking about consenting adults when we talk about polygamy. We are also talking about children, who cannot legally consent. The law used to have an obligation to use wisdom in legislating what is the best for children while respecting the rights of consenting adults. What has always been best for children has been the definition of marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. That was the argument against polygamy all along. But now, such principles lie in muddy water. We are being asked to ignore the wisdom of the past in favor of wide open relationships and expect that the children will not be harmed or confused. Time will tell. Frankly, I don't see how communal marriage, polygamy, and gay marriage use different principles. Perhaps this SCOTUS will get to answer that.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:44 p.m.

    Legalization of plural marriage introduces administrative concerns which are less significant in same sex marriage. For example: how will Social Security survivor benefits be administered. If ten young women all "marry" the same 90 year-old WWII vet, how many of those wives will the US be obligated to pay benefits to when the husband dies? If ten women all marry a single Forest Service agent, do all of them, and all of their offspring, receive government medical insurance? Would one individual be able to marry a bus full of immigrants (male and female) to allow citizenship to all of them?

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:28 p.m.

    "Legalization of plural marriage introduces administrative concerns which are less significant in same sex marriage."

    A red-herring argument against the joyful union of consenting adults. So constitutional rights take a back seat to "administrative concerns." Really?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:47 p.m.

    Floyd, I agree that new questions must be answered.

    But please lets not let administrative concerns deny polygamists equal rights just because they were born differently.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 18, 2014 2:39 a.m.

    @J. S.:
    "Are Mr. Kody Brown and any of his four wives equal in this 'marriage?'

    The answer to that would seem to be the business of Mr. Brown and his wives and no one else. Anyway why are you and others so concerned that there being something called 'equal' in a marriage?

  • RDLV Costa Rica, 00
    Jan. 18, 2014 5:58 a.m.

    @ J.S. and Floyd
    I’m not sure that a theoretical judicial conundrum or an administrative inconvenience would be a valid reason to deny equal rights.

  • J. S. Houston, TX
    Jan. 18, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    @wrz
    "The answer to that would seem to be the business of Mr. Brown and his wives and no one else."

    ---
    that's exactly why Utah state should not prosecute Mr. Brown and his four wives.

    @wrz
    "Anyway why are you and others so concerned that there being something called 'equal' in a marriage?"

    ---
    That's not the point. the point is, if such institution is against equality, no court will approve that. if people who want government to recognize the legality of polygamy, they have to answer such question. otherwise, no marriage license for them.

    @RDLV

    It is ironic to ask court to recognize an institute of inequality under the claim of "equal right"

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Jan. 18, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Let them live how they want. They aren't telling anybody else how to live or what to believe.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    The browns have every right to fight for what they believe is thier rights. If the state wishes to continue to oppose those rights they will have to prove a compeling state/social interest in doing so, something that states have been unable to do with regards to gay marriage.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    It should be decriminalized but legalizing it would be a massive mess. How would that even be managed in taxes/benefits/etc? and since polyandry would have to be legal too for gender equality purposes if polygamy is how would you manage a man who married 3 women one of whom married 2 other men as well?

    @whichever of you oppose same-sex marriage but are faking concern over polygamists

    Do you also condemn interracial marriage advocates for not supporting polygamy? If not, then you're just applying a double standard which is why I don't take any of you seriously.

    The only people I can take seriously are those who genuinely support polygamy and if they want to call me a hater for not supporting legalization of polygamy then so be it. I'm not going to whine about it, after all, I don't like polygamy and believe there is no constitutional right to gov't benefits going to unequal unions.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    I can't think of anything, short of a commandment from heaven, that would cause me to want to take that one wife. Marriage equality aside, this dude is crazy to want more than one wife.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 18, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    @InLifeHappiness:
    "Hopefully Utah will follow the laws of the land as Joseph Smith counseled in the Articles of Faith."

    I think Smith also said something like 'we believe in God...' which many citizens in Utah also ascribe to the issue of same-sex marriage

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    Perhaps if a statue is challenged because it does not apply evenhandedly to similarly situated people (e.g., Sister Wives and those in FLDS like closed communities, where harm and abuse is well documented to be under-reported, see Bountiful case law) the means selected by the Legislature must bear a substantial relationship to a legitimate government interest. Assuming that preventing harm and abuse could ever be a legitimate interest of the State. If a line has to be drawn somewhere, it is the governments business, and when dealing with a spectrum of risks and harms the line has to be drawn somewhere. When applying the rational basis standard, courts will not invalidate a provisionof law on equal protection grounds “unless the varying treatment of different groups or persons is so unrelated to the achievement of any combination of legitimate purposes that [a reviewing court]can only conclude that the government’s actions were irrational.” This may be the case with anti-polygamy/bigamy legislation. However, folks should be free to openly co-habitate where existing laws against harm and abuse are shown to be more effective.

  • J. S. Houston, TX
    Jan. 18, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    @wrz
    "The answer to that would seem to be the business of Mr. Brown and his wives and no one else."

    ---
    that's exactly why Utah state should not prosecute Mr. Brown and his four wives.

    @wrz
    "Anyway why are you and others so concerned that there being something called 'equal' in a marriage?"

    ---
    That's not the point. the point is, if such institution is against equality in court's eye, then it won't be approved. if people who want government to recognize the legality of polygamy, they have to be prepared to answer such question to judges or lawmakers. otherwise, no government will issue marriage license to them.

    @RDLV

    isn't it ironic to ask court recognize an institute of INEQUALITY under the claim of "equal right"?

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Jan. 18, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    For future concern, where does that Law Of The Land go, and who will obey at what personal sacrifice for any religious claim?

    I am confused, not for now, but for after tomorrow !
    Is Utah going to be the test ground for legal battles, it will cut some more edges and brings it closer to a "world" like Utah in prophecy.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    "Equal" doesn't mean just two. Equal could mean any number of equal parts that create a whole. Why would a man count as more than one of those parts and a woman less? Gender doesn't matter so all adults are equal, right?

    When society decides to move a line there are unintended consequences. The marriage line is being moved to accommodate the desire of consenting adults. So why is polygamy wrong and same sex marriage is not?

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 18, 2014 11:31 p.m.

    @J. S.:
    "...that's exactly why Utah state should not prosecute Mr. Brown and his four wives."

    Currently Utah can't prosecute because Brown is married to only one woman. He cohabitates with the others... which is not unlaw.

    "That's not the point. the point is, if such institution is against equality in court's eye, then it won't be approved."

    Define equality. If equality means the right to marry whomever you wish, such as what SSM's argue, then equality means simply that... i.e., you can marry whomever you wish... and as many as you wish... such as with polygamy. Not just one man/one woman. Has nothing to do with 4 against 1 as in the Brown case. Using your argument one could easily content that one man and one woman are unequal... one is beautiful and weak (female) the other is ugly and strong (male).

    "...if people who want government to recognize the legality of polygamy, they have to be prepared to answer such question to judges or lawmakers."

    They have to answer no questions of any sort if the law is changed to say they can marry.

  • kathybeebee Ephrata, WA
    Jan. 19, 2014 2:27 a.m.

    In reply to Floyd Johnson:

    You wrote, "If ten young women all "marry" the same 90 year-old WWII vet, how many of those wives will the US be obligated to pay benefits to when the husband dies?," Statistically, probably none. In order to receive Social Security benefits, the individual(s) must be married for 10 years. Statistically that is unlikely (though not impossible) to occur if the groom is 90 when the marriage takes place.

    Your other scenarios (scenaria??) are valid questions.

  • RDLV Costa Rica, 00
    Jan. 19, 2014 6:37 a.m.

    J.S.
    “It is ironic to ask court to recognize an institute of inequality under the claim of "equal right".
    Just because you define polygamy as an “institute of inequality”, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the courts will agree with you. I do not support either SSM or polygamy but I can’t see an argument based on sophistry to justify one over the other.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    One step at a time.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    The Bountiful Case fact finding [2011]:

    -Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm.

    -Children in polygamous families face higher infant mortality, even controlling for economic status and other relevant variables.

    -Early marriage for girls is common, frequently to significantly older men. The sex ratio imbalance inherent in polygamy means that young men are forced out of polygamous communities to sustain the ability of senior men to accumulate more wives.

    -Polygamy has negative impacts on society flowing from the high fertility rates, large family size and poverty associated with the practice.

    -Harms against women include: exploitation; commodification; social isolation; the inevitable favouritism of some women and deprecation of others within the household; discrimination; and, impoverishment.

    -Harms against children include: the negative impacts on their development caused by discord, violence and exploitation in the marital home; competition between mothers and siblings for the limited attention of the father; diminishment of the democratic citizenship capabilities of children as a result of being raised by mothers deprived of basic rights; impoverishment; and, violation of their fundamental dignity.

    -Polygamy harms good citizenship; threats to political stability; and the undermining of human dignity and equality.

  • J. S. Houston, TX
    Jan. 19, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    @RDLV and wrz

    let's face it, Mr. Brown has 4 wives in this "marriage", each of the 4 wives has to share her husband with 3 other women, or 1/4 of a husband. unless you believe 4 = 0.25, then Mr. Brown and his women are not equal in this relationship. It is inequality.

    @wrz
    "They have to answer no questions of any sort if the law is changed to say they can marry"

    --
    If they want to legalize polygamy, they have to answer such question. just as people who want to legalize SSM must answer all kinds of question before the court, but of course, they have no problem of spouse-spouse inequality.

  • Kronk Blackfoot, ID
    Jan. 22, 2014 10:53 p.m.

    Of course, we all realize that if both polygamy and same sex marriage were legalized, the only real definition of "marriage" left would be "any group of people." You could have "marriages" of 3 men and 4 women, or 23 men and 46 women, or 101 men and 15 women. Marriage would be a meaningless term.

  • Rabbi Dan Portlant, OR
    Feb. 4, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    As a practicing Jew

    I will never understand why your government is involved with marriage at all. Who has the right to tell a man or women how many wife's or for that matter husbands a person can have? The fact that none of the plural marriages worked in the bible is not the point. Its none of the governments business who you sleep with.