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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Will Utah Make Legislative Baby Steps?

After a federal judge did what should have been a no-brainer to everyone and slapped down Utah's criminalization of polyfidelity and polyamorous cohabitation, a state legislator is trying to make baby steps in the law, as reported by Antone Clark at standard.net...
Rep. Jerry Anderson, R-Price, said House Bill 56 was inspired by a federal judge's ruling in December striking down part of the state's law banning polygamy, following legal action brought by the stars of a TV reality series "Sister Wives." The court ruling threw out the state's section of law prohibiting cohabitation, saying it violates the constitutional guarantee of due process and religious freedom.

Not to mention freedom of association, right to privacy, etc.
His bill is only 29 lines long, and essentially changes the definition of cohabitation and then points out under existing law, bigamy is a third-degree felony.
Bigamy shouldn't be a crime unless it involves fraud. An adult should be free to marry any & all consenting adults. If someone is married and they are marrying another, that shouldn't be hidden from current spouses. Absent that sort of deception, there's no reason for polyamorists to be denied their fundamental rights.
He said the state's existing bigamy definition forces many people into the shadows. He said thousands of schoolchildren list their fathers as unknown, to avoid dealing with the implications of being in violation of the law.

He said the state's existing definition of bigamy puts police officers in a tough position.
Exactly. Criminalization of consensual adult relationships is destructive, causing many unnecessary problems.

This is a baby step. Really, any US state needs relationship rights, including full marriage equality, for all.

UPDATE: The bill is "dead" as the lawmakers sit around waiting for further court action. Sigh.
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