Last edited: November 06, 2003

Utah’s Bigamy Ban Challenged

Focus on the Family, August 20, 2003

By Terry Phillips, correspondent

SUMMARY: Convicted bigamist argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of sodomy should make having multiple wives legal, too.

Utah’s ban on bigamy has been challenged on the grounds that a recent court ruling legalizing homosexual sodomy means all variations of sexual activity should be allowable under law.

A man convicted of having four too many wives, and who is in prison for up to five years because of it, has asked the Utah Supreme Court to turn him loose. His argument is based on the recent landmark Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws against sodomy are a violation of privacy.

Such an argument was bound to be made sooner or later, according to Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a religious-rights law firm headquartered in Citrus Heights, Calif.

“The Supreme Court, in ruling on the issue of privacy, just blew the door wide open,” Dacus explained. “This alleged bigamist may actually be correct. Not only will he possibly be protected as a bigamist, but polygamists, adult incest and even those engaging in voluntary child incest” might be protected.

That’s what John Bucher is relying on. He’s the attorney for the Utah bigamist.

“I see a light at the end of the tunnel for permitting people to do what they want to in their own house—and that may be cohabiting with three women at once, four women at once.”

Not everyone, though, agrees that the sodomy ruling will necessarily lead to an anything-goes sexual free-for-all, according to Glen Lavy, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based religious freedom legal foundation.

“It was not saying that there is a right to force the state to recognize other behavior as legal,” Lavy said, calling the bigamist’s case “a frivolous claim.”

He added that conservatives might even be wrong to speculate that the high court’s ruling will one day lead to the legalization of gay “marriage.”

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