"Teens Defend Polygamy at Utah Rally"
Not every Mormon polygamist is a child-abusing cult leader, though some are. Decent, "Big Love"-style polygamous families do exist in Utah, characterized by healthy and respectful (if religion-based) relationships, if these kids of theirs are to be believed:
Calling their lives blessed, more than a dozen children and young adults from polygamist families in Utah spoke at a rally Saturday, calling for a change in state laws and the right to live the life and religion they choose.
"Because of our beliefs, many of our people have been incarcerated and had their basic human rights stripped of them, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said a 19-year-old identified only as Tyler. "I didn't come here today to ask for your permission to live my beliefs. I shouldn't have to."
Polygamy is banned in the Utah Constitution and is a felony offense. The rally was unusual because those who practice polygamy typically try to live under the radar.
It drew about 250 supporters to City Hall, said Mary Batchelor, co-founder of Principle Voices of Polygamy, which helped organize the event....
Dressed in flip-flops and blue jeans, bangs drooping over their eyes, the teens at Saturday's rally talked on cell phones and played rock music, singing lyrics written to defend their family life.
All of the speakers praised their parents and families and said their lives were absent of the abuse, neglect, forced marriages and other "horror stories" sometimes associated with polygamist communities.
Speakers said that with "dozens of siblings" and multiple "moms" they are well supported, encouraged to be educated, and can make their own choices about marriage.
"We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional," 17-year-old Jessica said. "My brothers and sisters are freethinking, independent people; some who have chosen this lifestyle, while others have branched out to a diversity of religions."
Read the whole AP article.
Here's the longer, more informative Salt Lake Tribune article (if it disappears, read the text here).
Watch a local TV news report on the rally (may require Internet Explorer).
And here's a reader poll at a North Carolina TV news site that carried the story.
Also on the subject of polygamy: The New York Times just ran a profile (Aug. 21, 2006) of a brave woman who has made a film about the sadness and abuse in the Islamic-based polygamy growing in Indonesia. (If the article disappears from the newspaper's site, you can read the text here.)