Last edited: February 27, 2005

Polygamy Ban Upheld

Focus on the Family (extremist anti-gay organization), February 18, 2005

By Steve Jordahl, correspondent

A federal judge in Utah has upheld the federal ban on polygamy.

A federal judge says a recent Supreme Court ruling scrapping state laws against homosexual sex practices can not be used to scrap laws against polygamy—the practice of having two or more spouses at the same time.

Polygamy has been illegal in the U.S. since the Supreme Court decided the Reynolds v. United States case in 1879. But a polygamist and his two wives recently claimed the recent Lawrence v. Texas decision cleared the way for multiple marriages. Barnard hung his case on the fact that, in recent years, the Supreme Court struck down laws against homosexual conduct on the books in Texas and more than two dozen other states.

“The more recent cases,” Barnard said, “decided by the United States Supreme Court, if they were applied, will result in a different decision than the Reynolds decision,” Barnard said.

But U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart did not buy that argument. He ruled this week that polygamy laws are about marriage—not the personal sexual issues addressed in the Lawrence decision. Hence, polygamy is still illegal.

Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute says that distinction has been lost in the fallout from Lawrence. Massachusetts courts ordered the creation of gay “marriage” based on, among other things, the Lawrence decision.

“Too many judges say that marriage is based on sexual relations and love,” Mineau said. “We believe those are ancillary benefits of marriage. The key element, the paradigm of marriage is for the procreation and the nurturing of children.”

He believes the polygamy case is far from over.

“I think the proof is still in the pudding as this is appealed and eventually will probably reach the Supreme Court,” Mineau said. “The school’s still out on this one.”

The ultimate outcome may not matter to polygamists. Author Andrea Moore-Emmett says most of them are anarchists who will be unfazed by the decision.

“They don’t care,” Moore-Emmett said. “Everything they do they say that they obey God’s law, not man’s law.”

She said there are about 100,000 polygamists living in the U.S.

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