March 27, 2007
Bill Would Deny Custody to Husbands Engaged in Polygamy
"A bill aimed at helping women leave polygamist husbands apparently will go no further this legislative session. HB 2325 would have denied husbands child custody if a court found “sufficient evidence” that they engaged in polygamy or child bigamy, an offense that includes married adults taking a child spouse and adults forcing children to enter plural marriages. Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix, said Monday that the bill, which won unanimous approval from the House Human Services Committee, won't take the next step and be heard by the Judiciary Committee. He said a second bill to provide funds for shelters helping women who leave polygamous marriages also won't advance.
“It's unfortunate that these aren't moving forward, but I'm going to continue pushing these because I feel they are important,” said Lujan, who also is the staff attorney for the Arizona chapter of Justice for Children, a national child advocacy group." By David Biscobing, Cronkite News Service, mhavedailynews Link to Article (last visited 3-27-07 NVS)
Polygamy in New York
"She worked at the Red Lobster in Times Square and lived with her husband near Yankee Stadium. Yet one night, returning home from her job, Odine D. discovered that African custom, not American law, held sway over her marriage. A strange woman was sitting in the living room, and Ms. D.’s husband, a security guard born in Ghana, introduced her as his other wife. Devastated, Ms. D., a Guinean immigrant who insisted that her last name be withheld, said she protested: “I can’t live with the woman in my house — we have only two bedrooms.” Her husband cited Islamic precepts allowing a man to have up to four wives, and told her to get used to it. And she tried to obey.
Polygamy in America, outlawed in every state but rarely prosecuted, has long been associated with Mormon splinter groups out West, not immigrants in New York. But a fatal fire in a row house in the Bronx on March 7 revealed its presence here, in a world very different from the suburban Utah setting of “Big Love,” the HBO series about polygamists next door. The city’s mourning for the dead — a woman and nine children in two families from Mali — has been followed by a hushed double take at the domestic arrangements described by relatives: Moussa Magassa, the Mali-born American citizen who owned the house and was the father of five children who perished, had two wives in the home, on different floors. Both survived.
No one knows how prevalent polygamy is in New York. Those who practice it have cause to keep it secret: under immigration law, polygamy is grounds for exclusion from the United States." By Nina Bernstein, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 3-27-07 NVS)
Supreme Court Declines Grandparent Case
"A widowed father lost his bid Monday to have the Supreme Court decide whether grandparents should have court-ordered visits with his son. The justices refused to get involved in the dispute between Shane Fausey, a federal-prison guard in Pennsylvania, and his dead wife's mother. Cheryl Hiller won rulings in Pennsylvania courts giving her regular visits with Fausey's son, Kaelen, over the father's objection. Grandparents do not have to prove that being kept away would be harmful to their grandchildren in order to get court-ordered visitation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said. Fausey said the court ruling violated his constitutional right to make parenting decisions." AP, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 3-27-07 NVS)