Utahns speak out against decriminalizing polygamy

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-13 20:48:20-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- An organization that opposes decriminalizing polygamy in Utah made its presence known at the Utah Capitol this morning.

Members of the Sound Choice Coalition visited with state officials and asked them to resist loosening Utah’s laws regarding polygamy.

The organization’s founder, Kristyn Decker, is a former polygamist, and she said if Utah moves to decriminalize polygamy it will allow the state to become a haven for the abuses that come along with the practice.

“We want to see these people protected, especially the children,” Decker said. “We’ve got generations, if it’s just ignored we’re talking hundreds of thousands of generations of the same thing going on and on.”

Decker said there are many more polygamous groups out there than the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which she said gets most of the attention. She said that group is “an extreme” but that there are abuses happening in the polygamous communities that are less well-known, which she says is part of the problem.

“There are so many violations of human rights within these communities that it’s just huge, and we know that it is,” she said.

Decker said many people who seem to be happy with polygamy are actually miserable, and she said she once pretended to be happy in a polygamous lifestyle.

“I was miserably happy,” she said. “I was happy that I was pleasing God, but inside of me my heart hurt. I was jealous. I was sad. And then when I had those feelings I was a bad person for having those feelings.”

Decker said the choice aspect of polygamous lifestyles is often a false choice, and men, women and children feel they are coerced into choosing something they don’t truly want because they are raised to believe their salvation depends on it.

“I hate to say brainwashing, but for the lack of a better word right now that’s what it is,” she said. “It’s: ‘You do this, or else.’”

The group's push against decriminalizing polygamy in Utah comes during an ongoing court case filed by Kody Brown, from the TLC TV series "Sister Wives." He and his wives are challenging Utah's polygamy laws.