In Montana, the Collier trio files to overturn bigamy laws, legalize their multi-marriage
|Christine, Nathan, and Vicki Daugherty Collier|
And in other poly-marriage legal news, the Collier trio in Montana have gone ahead and filed a challenge to the state's bigamy laws and their denial of a second simultaneous marriage license. Nathan Collier posts on Facebook:
We just filed our federal lawsuit seeking TRUE marriage equality in U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana. The U.S. Marshal's Service should be serving the defendants [county officials and the governor] in the very near future after which we will prepare to have our lives changed forever in many ways, both good and bad. No matter how this turns out I know that we will be on the right side of history and I cannot imagine anyone I would rather face this with than my wives who have loved me through everything and stood beside me even when some would say that they shouldn't have. We are fighting for the right for our family to simply exist without fear of prosecution for nothing more than being a family; I cannot imagine a greater cause worth fighting for.
They will almost certainly be turned down; the question is how high can they take an appeal.
● From an Associated Press story:
Polygamists Ask Judge to Strike Down Montana’s Bigamy Laws
Nathan Collier said he was inspired the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling allowing gay marriage to legally wed his second wife
HELENA — A Billings man, his wife and his common-law wife filed a federal lawsuit Thursday that seeks to strike down Montana’s bigamy laws and argues the state is unconstitutionally preventing them from legitimizing their polygamous relationship.
Nathan, Victoria and Christine Collier turned to the courts after Yellowstone County officials denied Nathan and Christine’s request for a marriage license in June. Nathan Collier said he was inspired the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay marriage to legally wed his second wife.
“I’m fighting for my family’s right to exist as a family,” Collier told The Associated Press. “I can’t imagine a greater cause to fight for.”
Nathan and Victoria Collier married in 2000. Nathan and Christine Collier held a religious ceremony in 2007 but did not sign a marriage license. The three live together in Billings, have eight children from their own and from past relationships and went public by appearing on the reality cable television show “Sister Wives” in January.
In their lawsuit, they argue the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling means that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is inconsistent with the fundamental right to marry. They also reference biblical figures and historical who had multiple wives as evidence of polygamy’s historical acceptance.
They speak about how they were excommunicated from the Mormon church for polygamy, and how they only want to love, protect, care and financially provide for each other.
The state laws that forbid a man from marrying more than one woman denies them their constitutionally guaranteed rights to equal protection, due process, free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association, the lawsuit said.
Nathan Collier said he wants a judge to prevent the state from enforcing those laws against consenting men and women in “plural relationships.”
The whole article (August 27, 2015).
● Here's a more detailed story on a local TV station's website: Montana polygamists file federal lawsuit after being denied a marriage license (Aug. 27).