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

January 23, 2017

End of the line for 'Sister Wives' polygamy decriminalization case

The Brown family

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the Kody Brown family's case that they be allowed to challenge Utah's anti-bigamy law. The court did not address the merits of the case; it decided that an appeals court was correct in ruling that the family did not have standing to bring its case because it had not actually been charged with the supposed crime, merely threatened with possible charges.

In 2013, the federal court in Utah that originally heard their case ruled in their favor that the law was unconstitutional.

From the AP in USA Today:

Sister Wives' polygamous family turned away at Supreme Court

...The justices left in place a lower court ruling that said Kody Brown and his four wives can't sue over the law because they weren't charged under it.

A federal judge sided with the Browns and overturned key parts of Utah's bigamy law in 2013, but an appeals court overturned that decision last year.

The Browns sought to argue before the high court that the law infringes on their right to freedom of speech and religion. The family said they should be able to challenge the law because the threat of prosecution forced them to flee to Nevada and still looms over them when they return to Utah.

Utah's law forbids married people from living with a second purported "spouse," making it stricter than anti-bigamy laws in other states and creating a threat of arrest for plural families. But state officials have followed a long tradition of not prosecuting polygamists unless they commit some other crime, such as child or spousal abuse, domestic violence or fraud.

Police investigated the family after their show premiered in 2010, but closed the case without filing any charges. The family argued in legal briefs that the state should not be able to thwart a constitutional challenge to the law "by changing its enforcement policy during the pendency of litigation."...

The whole article (January 23, 2017).

More news coverage, including another AP story:

'Sister Wives' family says it won't end fight

An attorney for a TV's "Sister Wives" family says the U.S. Supreme Court decision not to hear an appeal of Utah's law banning polygamy won't end the larger fight by plural and unconventional families for equal status.

Lawyer Jonathan Turley said Monday in a statement posted on his blog that he and the Brown family are disappointed but not surprised by the decision that was issued by the high court without comment....

From Turley's statement:

...The Browns remained steadfast in their commitment to equal rights and have become the voice for not just plural families but many families which do not meet the strict definition of monogamy practiced by the majority of citizens.


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Blogger Alan said...

Nothing to see here and certainly not the end of the line. SCOTUS does not render advisory opinions; I would have been stunned to have them take this case (never mind that they deny 90% of cert petitions anyway). The next step is to see if the family is actually charged with something that would cause a cognizable injury the Court could rule on.

January 24, 2017 3:50 PM  

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