‘Sister Wives’ family urges judge to decriminalize polygamy

Posted at 7:54 AM, Sep 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-18 09:54:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In a new federal court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives urge a federal judge to rule in their favor and decriminalize polygamy in Utah.

The filing in U.S. District Court on Friday rebuts arguments made by the state of Utah, which is seeking to uphold the polygamy ban. A federal judge has scheduled arguments for January in the case.

Jonathan Turley, the lawyer for Kody Brown and his wives Meri, Christine, Janelle and Robyn, reminded the court that unlike other polygamy cases that involved minor children in plural marriages — the Browns are all consenting adults.

“It is the state that is defining cohabitation and plural relationships as marriage and then criminalizing those private relationships as inimical to the institution of marriage. The Browns have not questioned the right of the state to limit its recognition of marriage and to prosecute those citizens who secure multiple marriage licenses from the state,” Turley wrote. “Rather they are challenging the right of the state to declare either cohabitation or plural relationships between consenting adults a felony.”

The state of Utah is expected to respond to the claims at the end of the month.

Brown and his wives sued the state of Utah, claiming they were forced to leave for fear of prosecution. However, the Utah Attorney said in an affidavit filed in court he would not prosecute the family.

The family appears on a reality cable-TV show entitled “Sister Wives,” which documents their lives together.