Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional [sort of]


#1

Slippery slope, anyone?

Link

Really what he ruled unConstitutional is cohabitation: “Waddoups’ ruling attacks the parts of Utah’s law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase ‘or cohabits with another person’ is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no ‘fundamental right’ to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to ‘religious cohabitation.’”

However, what really caught my eye was the thinking of those who challenged the law:
“While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs,” Brown wrote. “Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs.”

Jonathan Turley, the attorney representing the Brown family, called the opinion “magnificent” Friday in a phone conversation. In a blog post, he added that it strikes down “the criminalization of polygamy” and will allow “plural families to step out for the first time in their communities and live their lives openly among their neighbors.”

It just sounded like something I’d heard before…


#2

I don't know how any polygamy law can be constitutional based on the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex "marriage". In fact, I don't know how ANY law that excludes ANY type of "marriage" can be constitutional in light of that ruling.

Peace

Tim


#3

[quote="Orogeny, post:2, topic:348325"]
I don't know how any polygamy law can be constitutional based on the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex "marriage". In fact, I don't know how ANY law that excludes ANY type of "marriage" can be constitutional in light of that ruling.

Peace

Tim

[/quote]

What Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional? :shrug:


#4

Utah Supreme court said in 2004 that polygamy

often coincides with crimes targeting women and children, including] incest,sexual assault, statutory rape, and failure to pay child support

leagle.com/decision-result/?xmldoc/200491999P3d820_1915.xml/docbase/CSLWAR2-1986-2006

The Perils of Polygamy


#5

[quote="runningdude, post:3, topic:348325"]
What Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional? :shrug:

[/quote]

Isn't there a previous Supreme Court of the United States ruling that it is illegal? :confused:


#6

The article is a little sensationalist in the sense that this ruling doesn't legalize polygamy. What was determined to be unconstitutional was the prohibition of cohabitation which, if you actually think about it, is a ruling which makes sense.


#7

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:6, topic:348325"]
The article is a little sensationalist in the sense that this ruling doesn't legalize polygamy. What was determined to be unconstitutional was the prohibition of cohabitation which, if you actually think about it, is a ruling which makes sense.

[/quote]

Well, sure it makes sense in light of Lawrence, Hollingsworth, and Windsor...


#8

[quote="St_Francis, post:1, topic:348325"]
Slippery slope, anyone?

Link

Really what he ruled unConstitutional is cohabitation: "Waddoups’ ruling attacks the parts of Utah’s law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase 'or cohabits with another person' is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no 'fundamental right' to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to 'religious cohabitation.'"

However, what really caught my eye was the thinking of those who challenged the law:
"While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs," Brown wrote. "Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs."

Jonathan Turley, the attorney representing the Brown family, called the opinion "magnificent" Friday in a phone conversation. In a blog post, he added that it strikes down "the criminalization of polygamy" and will allow "plural families to step out for the first time in their communities and live their lives openly among their neighbors."

It just sounded like something I'd heard before...

[/quote]

Slippery slope, indeed.


#9

[quote="stewstew03, post:7, topic:348325"]
Well, sure it makes sense in light of Lawrence, Hollingsworth, and Windsor...

[/quote]

It makes sense even without those decisions. The law was/is unconstitutionally vague and was applied in a discriminatory manner. In Lawrence, the State of Texas exempted heterosexuals in the application of its anti-sodomy law and used it solely to prosecute homosexuals. In this case, as the judge points out, Utah used this law to specifically target Mormons while exempting adulterous cohabitation committed by all other persons in its application. The only real relation to Lawrence is the unconstitutionally discriminatory nature of the law's application. You can't enshrine the unconstitutional principle of second class citizenship into law no matter what the law is regulating. Besides, only those who want the government telling them who they can and cannot live with would support such a law.


#10

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:9, topic:348325"]
It makes sense even without those decisions. The law was/is unconstitutionally vague and was applied in a discriminatory manner. In Lawrence, the State of Texas exempted heterosexuals in the application of its anti-sodomy law and used it solely to prosecute homosexuals. In this case, as the judge points out, Utah used this law to specifically target Mormons while exempting adulterous cohabitation committed by all other persons in its application. The only real relation to Lawrence is the unconstitutionally discriminatory nature of the law's application. You can't enshrine the unconstitutional principle of second class citizenship into law no matter what the law is regulating. Besides, only those who want the government telling them who they can and cannot live with would support such a law.

[/quote]

I'm not sure if you've read the opinion or not, but the case pretty much turns on the analysis in Lawrence.

The court views the Tenth Circuit’s analysis and interpretation of Lawrence [in Seegmiller v. Laverkin City] as binding for this case and, accordingly, finds that it precludes the application of heightened scrutiny to Plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim as well, supported as it is by the contention that Lawrence establishes “a fundamental liberty interest in intimate sexual conduct.” *Brown v Buhman, p.29


#11

So, how long until we see the polygamist rendition of Windsor?


#12

[quote="stewstew03, post:10, topic:348325"]
I'm not sure if you've read the opinion or not, but the case pretty much turns on the analysis in Lawrence.The court views the Tenth Circuit’s analysis and interpretation of Lawrence [in *Seegmiller v. Laverkin City

[/quote]

] as binding for this case and, accordingly, finds that it precludes the application of heightened scrutiny to Plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim as well, supported as it is by the contention that Lawrence establishes “a fundamental liberty interest in intimate sexual conduct.” Brown v Buhman, p.29

A number of reasons were noted in the decision. You wouldn't need Lawrence to reach the same legal conclusions.


#13

The slippery slope started the day the government began legislating marriage.


#14

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:12, topic:348325"]
A number of reasons were noted in the decision. You wouldn't need Lawrence to reach the same legal conclusions.

[/quote]

I disagree - if Bowers were still the law of the land a court would reach a very different conclusion.


#15

[quote="St_Francis, post:1, topic:348325"]
Slippery slope, anyone?

Link

Really what he ruled unConstitutional is cohabitation: "Waddoups’ ruling attacks the parts of Utah’s law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase 'or cohabits with another person' is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no 'fundamental right' to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to 'religious cohabitation.'"

However, what really caught my eye was the thinking of those who challenged the law:
"While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs," Brown wrote. "Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs."

Jonathan Turley, the attorney representing the Brown family, called the opinion "magnificent" Friday in a phone conversation. In a blog post, he added that it strikes down "the criminalization of polygamy" and will allow "plural families to step out for the first time in their communities and live their lives openly among their neighbors."

It just sounded like something I'd heard before...

[/quote]

It was always in the pipeline. Next up: does the state have the right to supercede parents' religious beliefs and dictate at what age children can legally marry...?


#16

[quote="SeannyM, post:13, topic:348325"]
The slippery slope started the day the government began legislating marriage.

[/quote]

The state has an interest in "legislating" marriage.


#17

Not necessarily. It could implement a version of civil unions for all and leave the sacrament up to the religious institutions. The same goals would still be achieved.


#18

[quote="SeannyM, post:17, topic:348325"]
Not necessarily. It could implement a version of civil unions for all and leave the sacrament up to the religious institutions. The same goals would still be achieved.

[/quote]

Let me clarify: The state has an interest in this "union" that was once known as marriage between a man and a woman.


#19

[quote="SeannyM, post:17, topic:348325"]
Not necessarily. It could implement a version of civil unions for all and leave the sacrament up to the religious institutions. The same goals would still be achieved.

[/quote]

This is what I see happening. A series of civil agreements that specify who will appear on a tax filing, receive healthcare info, be a beneficiary, etc. No state "marriage" at all.

The problem, of course, is that the State should be concerned about how children are raised and have an interest in their welfare. Unfortunately, the State seems to have forgotten all about that.


#20

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