Utah is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, which abandoned polygamy in 1890 when Utah sought to become a state. However, some apostate sects and groups follow the primitive theological doctrine of plural marriage, which is believed to bring exaltation to heaven. The range of non-monogamous consensual relationships includes: polyamory (multiple romantic/sexual partners), polygamy (one person is married to multiple partners), group marriage (each person in the relationship is married to the others), open relationship/marriage (a committed or married couple who are not attached to sexual fidelity), polyfidelity (a relationship with multiple partners, but sexual activity is limited to a specific group), monogamous (couples who are sexually polyamorous but remain “emotionally monogamous”), swinging (similar to open relationships, but performed as an organized social activity, often with some form of; sometimes called a woman/husband exchange), triad (a polyamorous relationship of three people), and relational anarchy (participants in the relationship are not bound by rules or norms). established). 13. In December 2013, a federal judge, encouraged by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, struck down parts of Utah`s bigamy law that criminalized cohabitation, while recognizing that the state can still enforce prohibitions on multiple marriage licenses.  The state of Utah appealed the decision, arguing that polygamist Kody Brown was not allowed to file a civil suit because his district attorney, Jeff Buhman, did not intend to sue the Brown family. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth District (Denver) sided with Utah and overturned the previous decision, recriminalizing polygamy as a crime.  It is striking how the majority`s reasoning would also apply to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. If there is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who want to marry, and in their autonomy to make such profound decisions,” why should there be less dignity in the bond between three people who, in the exercise of their autonomy, are trying to make the profound decision to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because otherwise their children “would suffer the stigma of knowing that their family is somehow less,” why would the same reasoning not apply to a family of three or more people raising children? If the possibility of marriage “serves to ignore and subordinate gay and lesbian couples,” why shouldn`t the same “imposition of this disability” serve to ignore and subordinate those who thrive in polyamorous relationships? BELLY: It`s a complicated question. There is a history of state and federal authorities cracking down on polygamy in communities like Short Creek.
So people are being prosecuted, but my understanding is that it is not very common now. Proponents of Utah`s strict polygamy laws say they are there to protect children and to ensure that someone who commits another crime, such as child abuse, can also be prosecuted for polygamy. People like the Browns and others who advocate for the legalization of polygamy say these laws actually have the opposite effect. They say laws like this drive people underground and they are less likely to report abuse when it happens because they are in an illegal institution. People like the Browns would also say that polygamy does not cause this abuse, but that there are bad people (like Warren Jeffs, who is the prophet of the FLDS Church) who perpetuate abuse under the guise of polygamy. In 1998, about 40,000 people living in Utah were part of polygamous families, or about 1.4 percent of the population.  Polygamists have been difficult to prosecute, as many apply for marriage licenses only for their first marriage, while other marriages are celebrated secretly in private ceremonies. After that, secondary brides try to be seen in public as single women with children.  Since the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882, bigamy has been a federal crime under U.S. law. Bigamy is a crime that occurs when a person is married to two different people at the same time under two different marriage contracts. If a person is married, he or she is required to dissolve the marriage by death, annulment or divorce before he or she can legally enter into a new marriage.
If a person deliberately fails to dissolve the first marriage before entering into a new marriage contract, they may be charged with bigamy. In Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), who legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Chief Justice Roberts predicted that the reasoning of the majority of the court would lead to the legalization of polygamy. As Roberts wrote in Minority Opinion: Non-monogamy has long been a common practice in the LGBT community. In fact, a significant percentage of people living in same-sex partnerships, including those living in same-sex marriages, do not consider monogamy or sexual exclusivity to be part of the meaning of marriage. A study by the Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training found that among gay and bisexual men who were partners, 42 percent were in non-monogamous relationships. Of those who were not monogamous, 53% were in open relationships and 47% were in “monogamous” relationships (i.e. couples who are sexually polyamorous but remain “emotionally monogamous”). In some African countries, polygamy is illegal under civil law, but still permitted under common law, where actions traditionally accepted by a particular culture are considered legal. This arguably confusing loophole leads to two types of marriages: “civil” marriages and “habitual” or “religious” marriages, and allows countries like Liberia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to allow and even support polygamous marriages without formally recognizing them. Islam is the only major religion whose sacred texts arguably advocate polygamy.
Verse 3 of Sura 4 An-Nisa (women) explains that under certain (and disputed) circumstances, a man can marry up to four wives. According to this text, many Muslim countries allow a man to have up to four wives. However, many also require the man to indicate whether he plans to be monogamous or polygamous under the marriage contract with his first wife, and if she does not allow it, he cannot marry another woman as long as he is married to her. In addition, polyandry, in which a wife has several husbands, is still strictly prohibited. A 2005 report by the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre recommended that Canada decriminalize polygamy: “Criminalization is not the most effective way to address gender inequality in polygamous and pluralistic union relations. In addition, it may violate the constitutional rights of the parties concerned.  The family and their 17 children, who previously lived in Lehi, Utah, are members of the Apostolic United Brethren, a Utah-based church that follows the doctrine of plural marriage. After Joseph Smith`s death, polygamy continued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), then led by Brigham Young.
In the area that became Utah and some surrounding areas, plural marriage was openly practiced by followers of the LDS Church. In 1852 Young felt safe enough at LDS Church in Utah to publicly announce his practice of polygamy. However, opposition from the U.S. government threatened the legal status of the LDS Church. Wilford Woodruff announced on September 25, 1890 that the LDS Church had officially abandoned the practice. Woodruff`s statement was made at a general conference of the Church on June 6. It was officially adopted in October 1890. The LDS Church`s position on the practice of polygamy was reaffirmed in 1904 by another official statement entitled “Second Manifesto”, reaffirming polygamy.  While bigamy is still technically a crime in the United States, polygamy is essentially already decriminalized. In some states, a couple can be legally married (husband/wife, husband/husband or wife/wife), live with another married couple, and claim that all four are married to each other (but not legally). These agreements were superseded by the Supreme Court`s decision in Lawrence v.
Texas (2003), in which the court stated that “freedom presupposes autonomy of self which includes thought, belief, opinion, and certain intimate behaviour.” As Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged in the dissent, the Lawrence decision could be used to legalize bigamy and would constitute a “massive disruption of the current social order.” Starting in 2008, some conservative Muslims in the United States engaged in polygamous relationships in which each had one wife with a legal marriage and others with only religious marriages.  At that time, a phenomenon of polygamy was occurring among black Muslims in Philadelphia.  Polygamy became a major social and political problem in the United States in 1852 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) announced that a form of practice called plural marriage was part of its doctrine. The U.S. government`s opposition to this practice led to a fierce legal dispute, culminating when Church President Wilford Woodruff announced the official abandonment of the Church on September 25, 1890.  However, renegade fundamentalist Mormon groups living primarily in the western United States, Canada, and Mexico still practice plural marriage.