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Polygamy bill yanked from the Utah State Legislature

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Posted at 2:26 PM, Feb 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-18 16:26:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that could essentially decriminalize polygamy in Utah has been yanked from the legislature.

Rep. Jerry Anderson, R-Price, told FOX 13 on Tuesday that HB 58 has been held as part of a package of bills legislative committees won’t consider because of Utah’s appeal of Amendment 3.

Legislative leadership will not consider any gay rights or religious freedom bills so as not to influence the appeal of Amendment 3, which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in December. Amendment 3 defines marriage as between a man and a woman and does not recognize anything else.

That decision cleared the way for more than 1,300 same-sex couples to marry in Utah before the U.S. Supreme Court granted the state’s request for a stay pending appeal.

Anderson’s bill would have struck the cohabitation prong of Utah’s anti-bigamy law. It follows a decision by another federal judge that did much the same thing in response to a lawsuit filed by reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is deciding if it will formally appeal the Brown ruling, but attorney general Sean Reyes told FOX 13 last year that he would.