Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

December 18, 2013

A publicity gambit after Brown v. Utah

Want to try to get your poly group or meetup some local media attention? Here's a chance.

Last Friday's Utah decision legalizing group cohabitation by married people in that state, which effectively decriminalized polygamy, continues to draw attention nationwide (examples at CNN, The American Prospect, New York Times). Seizing on this victory, Billy Holder of Atlanta Polyamory and other folks (including me) have put together a press release that you can stick your name on and send to your local newspapers, radio and TV stations, etc., if you want to try to get some notice for your group.

Media are often eager to find a local "hook" for a national story like this. The iron is hot if you want to strike.

You have unlimited permission to copy, add, rewrite and paste:

[Your name, email, phone]


On December 13th a U.S. District Court judge sided with the polygamous Brown family in Utah, stars of TLC's "Sister Wives" series, ruling that key parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy laws are unconstitutional. Judge Clark Waddoups’ 91-page ruling decriminalizes many forms of open and honest non-monogamy in Utah and sets a potential precedent nationwide.

[Your group's name] joins with Loving More, Atlanta Polyamory, The Relationship Equality Foundation, Athens Polyamory, Modern Poly, The Charlotte Poly Network, B’More Poly, Hampton Roads Area Poly (HARP), Polyamory In the News, and others around the nation in congratulating the Browns on their historic win for freedom and equality in their case against the Utah law that made cohabiting in a group relationship a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

While only currently affecting the State of Utah, the Brown decision is a win for nontraditional chosen families and people in honest open relationships across the country. We honor the strength and perseverance of the Browns in beating down this injustice in federal court.

Things of note about the ruling:

• The case is officially Brown v. Buhman (2:11-cv-652), though it is widely called Brown v. Utah.

• The ruling throws out part but not all of the Utah law. It removes as unconstitutional the section of the law prohibiting "cohabitation," saying that this violates constitutional guarantees. "The court finds the cohabitation prong of the Statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it.”

• The ruling does uphold the part of the Utah law banning bigamy "in the literal sense -- the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage."

• The practice of private multi-unions or self-declared marriages outside of legal contexts (civil and religious) is not restricted. That is, people may participate in group marriage ceremonies and call each other husbands and wives without the law taking notice, as long as there is no intent to defraud or to claim marriage benefits by those who do not qualify for them.

• Polyamorists are an enumerated group in this case, having been named directly in the original filings.

Key rulings across the nation are striking down anti-cohabitation statutes as well as laws restricting gender in marriage (such as United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court's DOMA ruling last June). As legal rulings dismiss laws restricting personal freedoms that cause no harm to others (that is, without “a rational basis”), a clear message moves across our nation that personal relationships can and should be able to take more than one form, and that the form should be defined by the people involved in the relationships, not the government. The courts are removing antiquated laws one by one and increasing the freedom of individuals to make their own relationship choices without living in fear.

If the Utah officials on the losing side appeal the decision, Brown v. Buhman (Brown v. Utah) would move on to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and then possibly the U.S. Supreme Court, possibly resulting in a nationwide ruling that would strike down the criminalization of group cohabitation in states that still currently intrude on such private matters.

[Add something here about your local group, and who to contact if the media want to learn more about what you do and what you offer people in your area.]


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