Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Hearing Challenge to Polygamy as Marriage Barrier

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is being asked to allow three Utahns who want to unite as husband, wife and wife. They are challenging the ruling of U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart who rejected the argument that the prohibition on polygamy is an unconstitutional violation of religious and privacy rights and ruled that the state has an interest in protecting monogamous marriage. The judge said in his opinon that the 2003 decision by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas did not grant a right to plural marriage.  In his brief to the Tenth Circuit, the lawyer for the appellants argues that the state does not regulate exploitative relationships between other couples, and if there were a compelling reason to promote responsible procreation, Utah would step into all family situations. He also argues that  there are no sanctions against an unwed mother who rears children alone, and there is no statute barring parents from divorcing and raising their children in separate households. Furthermore, he says that the state does not restrict nor ban 'serial polygamists,' individuals who repeatedly marry, conceive children and divorce a series of spouses. Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, For more information, please click here (last visited December 3, 2005, reo).

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