Last edited: November 05, 2003

Bigamist Appeals Conviction Using Sodomy Ruling Defense, August 19, 2003

By Newscenter Staff

Salt Lake City, Utah—A convicted bigamist is appealing claiming the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Texas sodomy law allows him legally to have more than one wife.

In documents filed with the Utah Supreme Court, lawyer John Bucher argues that Tom Green should not have been found guilty because laws banning bigamy are unconstitutional based on the sodomy ruling.

Green was convicted in 2002 on four counts of bigamy, and one of criminal nonsupport.

Bucher points to the majority decision of the Supreme Court which held that it was illegal to single out any one group on the basis of perceived immorality. He argues that Utah’s laws against bigamy create “a prosecution based on the moral disapproval of the practice.”

In an amicus brief to the state high court, the Utah Civil Liberties Union agrees. It says Utah’s bigamy law violates the First Amendment as applied to plural marriages based on religious beliefs.

The state of Utah is defending the law, saying it does not single out any one group of people, but rather it applies to all bigamous relationships.

Green is serving up to 5 years in prison for the convictions. In a separate case he was convicted of child rape. One of the women he “married” was 13.

The court is expected to hear the case in the fall.

When the US Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the sodomy case, conservative Christians said it would lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage and bigamy.  

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