A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his 4 wives, declaring that the family did not actually face a threat of prosecution from Utah authorities.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, molested or otherwise harmed by a member of the Mormon Church or Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: ‘Sister Wives’ Case Headed for Supreme Court
May 16, 2016 – The polygamous family from TV’s ‘Sister Wives’ will take their fight to legalize polygamy to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to FOX 13. Kody Brown and his 4 wives say that polygamous marriages can be just as healthy as monogamous unions, and they argue a Utah law that makes plural marriages illegal violates their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion. Last month, an appeals court threw out the Browns’ lawsuit after judges decided the family can’t sue because they weren’t charged under the law, thus making the issue non-constitutional.
What’s the Problem?
April 13, 2016 – The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said Brown and his wives cannot sue the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy because the family was never charged with any crime, and prosecutors agreed not to prosecute consenting adults with multiple wives, according to CBS News.
The court’s decision overturns a 2013 ruling that removed the threat of arrest for parties engaged in plural marriage. In that case, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups determined that the threat of prosecution forced the Browns to flee Utah, and that the state’s bigamy law violated their right to privacy and religious freedom.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes appealed the ruling, as the state has maintained a policy of not prosecuting consenting adult polygamists. However, prosecutors argued that the ban should stay in place to help authorities go after polygamists like Warren Jeffs, imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison a decade ago for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered his wives.
Brown’s ‘sister wives’ lawsuit alleged that there are other laws on the books that target crimes associated with polygamy, and that banning the practice can breed distrust of authority. The family further contends that their reality TV show is evidence that polygamous unions can be as healthy as monogamous marriages.
Bigamy, or holding multiple marriage licenses, remains illegal in Utah and throughout the U.S. Brown has a license for only one of his marriages, and says his other unions are spiritual.
There are about 30,000 polygamists living in Utah today, according to court documents. Practitioners believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven – a fundamental legacy of the early Mormon church. The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) abandoned the practice in 1890 and strictly prohibits it today.
Do I Have a Mormon Abuse Lawsuit?
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Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was harmed by the Mormon Church, LDS or FLDS, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.