Polygamist Seeks Protection Under Lawrence Ruling
Advocate, December 3, 2003
A lawyer for a Utah man with five wives argued Monday
that his bigamy convictions should be thrown out following a Supreme Court
decision decriminalizing gay sex. The nation’s high court in June struck
down Texas’s sodomy law, ruling that what gay men and lesbians do in the
privacy of their homes is not the business of government.
It’s no different for polygamists, argued Tom Green’s
attorney, John Bucher, to the Utah supreme court. “It doesn’t bother
anyone, [and with] no compelling state interest in what you do in your own
home with consenting adults, you should be allowed to do so,” Bucher said.
The state said the court should reject the appeal because Green failed to
raise the issue during his trial more than two years ago or anywhere else
along the judicial path since then.
Green, who is not affiliated with any church, was
convicted of four counts of bigamy and one count of criminal nonsupport of his
30 children in August 2001. Besides his five-year sentence, he faces up to
life in prison after being convicted of child rape for having sex with one of
his five wives when she was 13. “He preys on young girls,” Utah assistant
attorney general Laura Dupaix said. “This case is about a man who marries
young girls and calls it religion.”
Polygamy was renounced by the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in 1890 as part of a deal to grant Utah statehood, and the
church now excommunicates those members who practice or advocate it. Polygamy
has an estimated 30,000 practitioners in the United States.
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