Kody Brown and His Four "Wives"

Do anti-polygamy laws violate the Constitution?


When it comes to sexual relationships and cohabitation among consenting adults, Utah takes a permissive approach. If a guy wants to shack up with a lady, that's fine. If he wants to shack up with several, no problem. He can father children by different roommates, with no fear of the law.

But if he marries one woman and represents three others as his "spiritual wives," like Kody Brown? Then he's committed a felony. Not because of the stuff that goes on behind closed doors. It's the public act of claiming to be part of a lifelong "plural marriage" that raises the specter of jail.

This came as a surprise to Brown, a "fundamentalist Mormon" whose sect, unlike the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, practices polygamy. Despite the legal ban, prosecutions for polygamy are extremely rare.

Before appearing in a TV reality show called Sister Wives, Brown was told by authorities he was in no danger of prosecution as long as he wasn't doing anything else illegal, such as consorting with underage girls. But when the show hit the air, prosecutors opened a criminal investigation.

So Brown went to court claiming that his constitutional rights have been violated in various ways. Though it may come as a surprise to hear, he's got a perfectly reasonable argument.

Brown and his lawyer, George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, don't say the state must sanction such arrangements in law. Nor did Brown try to get multiple marriage licenses, in defiance of the state ban on polygamy.

His case is about freedom, not state recognition. Unlike gay couples who say they should be allowed to legally wed, Brown isn't asking the state to officially accommodate his chosen form of matrimony. He's just asking to be let the hell alone.

Other people, after all, are exempt from such control. Turley says Brown and his women "would not be prosecuted if they claimed no religious obligation and merely had casual or purely sexual associations."

He notes, "Monogamists are allowed an infinite number of sexual partners, and consequently have the right to bear children with multiple partners, so long as they do not claim to be committed to such partners in a union or family."

The law doesn't prevent any man from living with several women, having sex with them, and siring their offspring. This behavior is a problem only when a man claims to be permanently wedded to the women—only, that is, when he behaves more responsibly than a tomcat.

Utah may limit legal marriage to one man and one woman (or, if it chose, two people of the same sex). It also has the right to punish the abuses that may accompany polygamy, such as rape, incest, and welfare fraud. But it's hard to see where it gets the authority to dictate what words individuals may use for their relationships.

If Fred and I want to say we're cousins—assuming we're not trying to defraud someone—no prosecutor will bother us. If I refer to Sally as my aunt, despite the lack of family ties, the law is majestically indifferent. When Brown and his boos present themselves as husband and wives, though, he's applying for a prison cell.

In challenging the law, they can cite implicit support from the Supreme Court. In a 2003 decision striking down a Texas ban on homosexual sodomy, Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a wide berth to intimate relationships.

Anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, Kennedy said, because they interfere with "the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home," in order "to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals."

The same logic applies perfectly to Brown's plural "marriage." The state presumes to dictate how he represents his relations with consenting adult women, imposing harsh penalties if he does not comply.

If Brown wants to live with five women and call them his girlfriends, his shorties, his harem, the Seattle Storm, or the 101st Airborne, it is of no earthly concern to the rest of us. And if he wants to call them his wives, the state of Utah should say, "Knock yourself out, dude." That, or nothing.


NEXT: The Babysitter

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  1. I knew it!

    1. Traditional Marriage = 1 man + n women

      Look it up – and despite what some ignorant Christians claim, there is no Biblical prohibition of polygyny. That’s a Roman prohibition. The Ethiopian Church has known better since its inception ca. 300 AD.

      1. Dave,the Bible says, in so many words, that a bishop must be monogamous. I would find it very strange if this was taken to mean polygamy is OK for presbyters and laity.

        1. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

          1. Exactimundo!

        2. It’s been decades since my fundy upbringing, but this was not a general prohibition on polygamy. It was advice to bishops to stay focused on ministering to his congregation. A man with multiple wives just doesn’t have the time.

          1. For what it’s worth, in scholarly circles, IIRC, the issue comes down to whether one was used as a numeric value or as the indefinite article. In English we distinguish between them, but in many languages they are the same. So the question was whether it means a bishop can have one wife or a wife. If you take the former position, it is an anti-polygny injunction. If you take the latter it is a blanket statement that bishops must be married (no single guys allowed). For rather obvious reasons, the Catholic church takes the latter position (or all of its bishops would be in violation of the scriptural statement).

            Since the language is ambiguous, it’s hard to state that it is an injunction against polygyny (even for bishops) with any certainty.

            1. Some within the SBC, myself included, take it to mean EXACTLY 1 wife. Not zero, not two.

              I wouldnt vote to hire a bachelor minister for the head position. If he doesnt have the experience running a household, he cant run the church. Plus, he is going to have to council married couples and I would prefer he actually have, you know, experience.

              IMO, a widower would be acceptable.

              1. That’s the general interpretation for KJV-leaning Christians for sure (since the English texts read that way), and it may have meant exactly that (we just don’t know). So I can’t fault your interpretation (but neither could I fault the other): it’s just one of those things where the text can’t tell you what you need to know because the authors assumed a particular interpretation and it probably didn’t occur to them that they needed to make it explicit.

                I realize that this goes against the strict sola scriptura insistence on an unambiguous reading of God’s perfect revelation in the Bible, etc., etc.

            2. Must have a wife or is allowed to have one? And how is this the same as the Catholic church saying they can’t have one?

              1. IIRC, the general prohibition against marriage was a result of the heirs of the clergy, at all levels, were claiming the assets of the local parish when the clergy member died, so each new clergyman had to start over from scratch to build a parish. The prohibition against married clergy was to deal with this problem. The earlier prohibitions against marriage were directed at the level of bishop and above, and was eventually applied to all clergy. This of course applies to the Catholic Church as constituted at that time. Early Medieval.

              2. It’s not. The Catholics take the statement to mean a prohibition on polygamy, rather than a requirement to have a wife. That’s also a possibility: it would mean a bishop is disqualified from having multiple wives but could have also have no wife. The other reading, the one robc points to, makes having a wife mandatory. So Catholics treat it as an anti-polygamy statement, Baptists treat it as requiring a bishop to be married and as an anti-polygamy statement, and old-time Mormons (pre-1900) as a requirement that a bishop be married with no statement at all about polygamy. The problem is that the text can support any of these interpretations.

                1. Mormon Bishops must still be married (widowers are ok too, I think).

            3. Untermensch, you make a good point, another possible trnslation, though, comes from the fact that the Greek words for one is also the Greek word for first. So it could also mean that a church leader must still be the husband of his first wife. Meaning that he must not be divorced, with no explicit prohibition on polygamy.

      2. And eventually it was a Jewish prohibition and a Christian prohibition as well, and the prohibition in both cases was seen as in keeping with the lessons of the Bible beginning with Adam and Eve. I don’t think Christians have ever argued that something must be explicitly prohibitted in the Bible to be seen as a poor choice, a sin, a bad tradition, etc. in real life.

        1. In fact many see the need to enforce holiness in excess of Jesus’. He made wine, his first miracle, and he drank. Many Christians see drinking as a terrible sin, never mind Jesus did it.

          And doesn’t it seem odd that God would give regulations for something he would prohibit?
          Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. …
          If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

          Exodus 21:1,10

      3. Look it up – and despite what some ignorant Christians claim, there is no Biblical prohibition of polygyny.

        Well, sure, there’s nothing explicit that says, “Don’t marry more than one woman.” At the same time, the message is clearly implied in several places that having more than one spouse tends to lead to all kinds of dysfunction whereever it’s highlighted–Jacob’s wives fighting over family position with him stuck in the middle, King David’s children by multiple wives committing incest and fratricide, or Solomon weakening his kingdom by marrying a multitude of foreign wives (granted, the latter was probably recorded as such out of a sense of tribal chauvinism, but still). And in the New Testament, both Jesus and Paul caution that it’s really best to not marry at all, much less several times.

  2. No, maybe, yes, yes.

    1. I think the one on the left ate wife #5.

      1. I’m gonna change my yes to a no Lefty just because you got spunk!

        1. I MEANT to say that you’re gonna GET some spunk!

          Innuendo high five!

    2. Sorry, I’m in a spiritual relationship with Number Four.

  3. We really need to stop caring what consenting adults do with their genitals.

    1. Agreed. But, do you think this is really about what people do with their genitals? I ask this question honestly, because I really don’t know. I mean, as a moral issue, does accepting anything beyond the one woman-one man construct make people think that we’re about to descend into a society that condones lunchtime orgies and open sex with farm animals?

      This is an issue, btw, that I see agreement on across the political spectrum; I’ve got both liberal and conservative friends that are good with polygamy. I’m not sure, though, how it spins in various religious communities.

      1. “I mean, as a moral issue, does accepting anything beyond the one woman-one man construct make people think that we’re about to descend into a society that condones lunchtime orgies and open sex with farm animals?”

        How do I get a green card to this wonderful place?

        1. Green card implies you’re visiting for work. I’m going for pleasure!

      2. We don’t condone lunch-time orgies? I certainly do, as long as they aren’t in the back of a restaurant serving lunch.

        1. That is a more likely place than you might expect for something like that to occur.

      3. does accepting anything beyond the one woman-one man construct make people think that we’re about to descend into a society that condones lunchtime orgies

        I hope so! Maybe then they won’t be doing it on the clock.

      4. I think it is more than concern about what people do with their genitalia. It’s a concern about the place of women in society, about the potential for abuse, about the monogamous contruct being a better protection (not the least emotionally) for women than the polygamous construct. A concern that if polygamy becomes a societally tolerated or even legal “option” it might become more prevalent…it’s not like homosexual marriage, where if it’s accepted, you’re not suddenly going to have straight men wanting to marry. But if polygamy is accepted, you might suddenly have straight men wanting multiple “wives.” I can see why women would be resistent to polygamy. It never goes the other way in any society – women with multiple husbands. Polygamy provides protection in male dominated socieites where women have few freedoms, perhaps, but in a free society…Yes, people should be free to do what they choose if they are adults and the state shouldn’t prosecute, but polygamy should never legally be called marriage and society should frown on it and be suspicious of it – while taking no legal action agains the practioners.

        1. “It never goes the other way in any society – women with multiple husbands.”

          [citation needed]

        2. It never goes the other way in any society – women with multiple husbands.

          Maybe “rarely”. I wouldn’t say “never” about human and anything related to sex. If you doubt it, read this.

        3. wait, who says the women can’t leave if they don’t like the polygamous relationship? no one is saying abuse or child molestation all of a sudden became legal. i personally think that men who have one wife but are constantly cheating are way worse. i’d rather it all be out their. isn’t that my right as a woman?

          1. and by their, i meant there…i’ve been doing that a lot lately 🙁

          2. PS: I also don’t think government should be legislating marriage at all – any kind of marriage. it’s a personal thing that each culture deals with differently. I think the only reason the US legislates marriage is for tax purposes…any maybe to maintain some semblance of “family values”. why the hell is cheating legal then? so anywho, get rid of the complex tax laws and we won’t have a problem.

            the only problem might be that we have some tax accountants and tax lawyers out of work b/c then people will actually be able to do their taxes on their own! imagine that!

            1. But we WANT marriage! It’s symbolic!

        4. I don’t consider myself someone who’d advocate for a male-dominated society, and I don’t think that polygamy and male-domination necessarily go hand in hand. Sometimes marriages are more like contractual relationships than they are the ultimate expression of romantic, soulmate love. In fact, I think romantic, soulmate love is overrated….and maybe even mythical, at least for the long haul. It seems to me that polygamous relationships can work pretty well for running a household and raising children and pooling resources. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about male domination.

          That said, I am kind of put off by the idea that women don’t seem, in general, to be allowed the same latitude, though I, personally, don’t even know if I’d want to deal with that. But, from what I can tell, there seems to be a growing population of polyamorists in the US, both men and women. And, btw, there is indeed such a thing as a woman having more than one husband. Polyandry:

          1. I agree – I mean, ultimately everyone should do what they want as long as they’re not hurting anyone…men, women, everyone! whose business is it if someone wants to live a lifestyle like that?

        5. It never goes the other way in any society – women with multiple husbands.

          That’s incorrect; polyandry is quiterare, but hardly unknown.

        6. UT was one of the first states that allowed women to vote.

        7. Polygamy: having multiple spouses.

          Polygyny: having multiple wives.

          Polyandry: having multiple husbands.

        8. Polyandry, multiple husbands, actually used to be common in India before the brits. Especially among the Todas

      5. What’s wrong with lunch-time orgies?

        1. Negative impact on productivity?

          1. The clean-up.. unless you’re a lucky bastard with a full hour break.

    2. But the issue here is not what the adults are doing with their genitals, but what one adult calls the other adults with whom he is doing things with his genitals. That’s simply ridiculous.

      1. Society’s reaction to cuss words (both those who cringe and those who think it gives their word power) shows it’s belief in magic. Same with this.

        1. Society’s obsession with allowing written word called legislation to give government actors the power to commit acts of force and fraud upon civilians shows it’s belief in magic.

          1. Well said.

          2. written word called legislation [is] magic

            Yeah, anarchy (no laws, no legislatures, just competing gangs) makes much more sense, so long as those committing “acts of force and fraud upon civilians” are not government criminals.

            1. Anarchy doesn’t mean no rules, it means no rules backed up by threats of violence.

              Take the internet for example. There are no rules backed up with threats of violence, but there are plenty of rules. TCP/IP is not backed up by men with guns. There’s a new protocol coming out, not backed up by men with guns, and amazingly people will use it.
              Why is that?

              Cooperation is an amazing thing.

              The problem with rules enforced by fear and intimidation, as opposed to cooperation, is that they no longer need to make sense. People cooperate when it makes sense, and for the most part the resulting rules are good rules.
              When rules are backed up with violence they don’t have to make sense. They become arbitrary and to the whims of those with power. The resulting system is always rife with abuse and criminal activity by those who dole out the threats of violence.

              Anarchy does make more sense.

              1. “Anarchy doesn’t mean no rules, it means no rules backed up by threats of violence.”

                In theory. In practice, it means many conflicting rules backed up by violent groups competing for power.

                1. “In practice, it means many conflicting rules backed up by violent groups competing for power.”

                  1. Crap. Where is anarchy being practiced?

                    1. Anarchy is practiced everywhere and no where.

                      Anarchists are those who don’t like the protection agencies their neighbors choose to support. They call protection agencies they don’t like by the curse word “government”, get all huffy, and curl up with The Machinery of Freedom and a hot cup of cocoa to gnaw their resentments.

  4. 1. Gay Marriage- ?
    2. Polygamy- ?
    3. Sex with farm animals- INCOMPLETE

    1. Re #3. Ha ha ha. I guess my question was answered.

      1. Nobody expects The Liberal Agenda!

    2. Dude’s a Mormon. That makes him anything but liberal.
      If he was a liberal he would be demanding government redefine marriage with the goal of forcing his lifestyle onto everyone else.
      But he’s not.
      He’s just asking to be left alone.
      Dude is definitely not a liberal.

      1. Gee, for a guy called “sarcasmic”…

        1. Nice…I think this deserves a DRINK!

    3. …and neither are mormons

      1. What about Harry Reid?

        1. the exception that defines the rule

    4. we neeed 2 waterbored teh farm anmals lol

    5. Make that sex with all animals. A good liberal would never discriminate against the other animals.

      1. But some liberal, somewhere, came up with the term “speciesist”, which is full-metal retard.

    6. Polygamy isn’t on the left’s agenda because polygamists don’t largely vote Team Blue. Gay marriage is on there because gays tend to be liberal, plus gay marriage expands state control to more relationships.

      1. You’re confusing cause and effect. Gays vote blue because democrats don’t hate gays. Mormon fundamentalists vote red because Republicans don’t hate mormon fundamentalism.

        Allowing gay marriages exerts less state control than prohibiting them outright.

    7. Only if its consensual.

  5. Short answer ‘yes they do violate the constitution’.

    Long answer, laws against polygamy are much less justifiable than laws against gay marriage.

  6. The only consentual taboo left is incest. There’s the whole genetics problem, but I don’t see what would be wrong with it as long as birth control was used.

    1. True story, when I was a freshman in college I knew two identical twins who lived in my dorm and also lived in the same dorm room. They were gay guys – they never went to bed without someone to have sex with – each other.

      1. Just to clarify this was by dorm but not my dorm room. They had their own dorm room.

        1. I really did picture you huddled in the corner with your blanket over your head and your fingers in your ears.

        2. I assumed you had a doppelganger.

      2. The ick factor is strong with this one.

        But the opportunities for fetish porn abound.

        1. I’m pretending the story was about twin girls.

          Only after I get off work.

    2. Are any two people prohibitted from reporducing who are not related but who both are likely to produce, say, a blind child? I don’t see how the genetics argument would work. Once you say the state has NO authority to DEFINE marriage, you have no logical or political reason (only moral reasons, which have been cast aside as politically valid) to prohibit (or fail to recognize, if the state is going to be recognizing) ANY marriage construct, incestuous, polygamous, homosexual, or pedophilial. If we’re going to say the state has no power to define marriage, we had best get rid of marriage licenses first and state recognition of any marriage. Otherwise it gets pretty screwed up. If we aren’t going to get rid of marriage licenses and state recognition of marriages, then the majority ought to have the say in the definition, since a marriage license is effectively a societal sanction / approval of a certain arrangment as being superior worthy of more privilege) than some other arrangement.

      1. the STATES define marrage since the states issue & regulate licenses. the feds have no biz except for federal property. if iowa deems it ok to marry a farm animal, & utah oks polygamy, that’s each states business. debate it when the effected states hold elections.

      2. The establishment clause of the Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a state religion, or promoting one religion above another. The government (local, state federal) is, by law, neutral to religion.

        But the government is violating the establishment clause. It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental form of establishment than defining one religion’s marriages as valid and offering state sanction to support it, while making the marriages of another religion a criminal act.

        Existing marriage laws are nearly a 100% match to Catholic and Protestant Christianity. If you can’t get married and have kids raised in your religion or culture, it becomes difficult to propagate your religion/culture to future generations. If the kids end up in foster care because their biological parents die, and the state does not recognize the second, third, etc wives as being family, then the nearly-intact family gets broken up for no good reason.

        1. Actually, the First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, meaning Congress can’t make any laws on the topic, not that establishing a religion is unconstitutional (on a state level, that is). Many states actually had official religions, even until well after ratifying the constitution (Massachusetts had established relgion until 1833).

          1. “”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, meaning Congress can’t make any laws on the topic, not that establishing a religion is unconstitutional”

            NO, neither case law nor any reading of the Constitution agrees with your assessment.

            1. SO, in short, ACTUALLY (why is it the douche bag assholes that always start their moronic posts with this stupidity, especially when they’re wrong) you are irrefutably incorrect.

  7. What about gay polygamy?

    1. Gay polygamist farm animals?

      1. watrebord tehm lol

        1. plus sodomy

    2. That’s called a college swim team.

    3. A stack?

  8. Rick Santorum was right!

  9. tell that to utah

  10. “A man can have as many wives as he wants as long as he does not call them his wives– or rather, as long as he does not go through certain more or less mystical ceremonies to call them his wives.” — Chesterton, THE SUPERSTITION OF DIVORCE
    Case in point: Hugh Hefner

    1. watterbord utah lol

  11. “It also has the right to punish the abuses that may accompany polygamy, such as rape, incest, and welfare fraud.”

    One thing I don’t get about anti-polygamy activists. Haven’t they noticed that rape, incest, and welfare fraud also occur in monogamous households?

    I get that some of them were abused, but most of us deservedly laugh at the delusional feminist extremists who opposed all marriage because they were in a bad one – but we coddle former polygamous wives who do the same thing – and persecute men and women who are living in a healthy plural relationship for the sins of others.

    It’s insane, it’s wrong, and it’s utterly typical of American moralists – who are too damned ignorant to even know their own religious tradition.

    1. take it ez, its utah…a whole nother place

  12. Oh hey that thing we were assured gay marriage would not lead to


    1. Next they’ll legalize masturbation. Mark my words.

      1. I thought Nino was down with masturbation?

  13. When Brown and his boos present themselves as husband and wives, though, he’s applying for a prison cell.

    Just say “Executive and executive assistants”.

    1. confidential assistants

  14. This guy sought publicity, found it and was in turn furn by a publicity seeking prosecutor. Prosecutors who want to become Governors and Senators are always on the lookout for publicity.

  15. Furn. Gah.

    1. Furn – to abuse one’s prosecutorial power.

      I like it.

  16. People have the right to be polygamous, but the first marriage contract should stipulate whether or not the marriage will be monogamous. It’s unfair to give spouse #1 the impression that you are starting a life long monogamous relationship and then surprise him 10 years latter with spouse #2.

    1. In that situation the first wife can get a divorce, not really unfair at all. People say that polygamy needs to be illegal to protect women but what they really are saying is that women aren’t intelligent and capable enough to make their own decisions.

      1. So, to sum it up:

        Anti-polygyny laws are sexist.

  17. I like the part where the headline reads ‘Should polygamy be illegal?’ and the sub-headline goes ‘Does it violate the constitution’….then the article doesn’t deal with either. It just rambles on with the trope ‘like, leave em’ alone man’. Good stuff!

    Polygamy is fine for isolated situations. As a social norm, it’s a terrible precedent. Unless you’re an alpha male within the top 15-20% of the income scale, then it could be pretty groovy. This is the fruit of the fuck-tarded argument of ‘NO LAWS BASED ON SOCIAL MORES’ that was employed to tackle gay marriage in the courts. The vast majority of our laws are based on forms of social morals/mores. Addressing a social ethics issue through the legislation effects only that issue. Inventing a new legal precedent at the courts will eventually involve anything that it can be pulled, twisted, or shaped to apply to.

    That’s why some people argued they had no problem with gay marriage, but it should be voted in, not mandated by judicial fiat. Gay marriage fanatics called this crazy, there was a million reasons that things like polygamy would not be coming next. Oops.

    1. “That’s why some people argued they had no problem with gay marriage, but it should be voted in, not mandated by judicial fiat. Gay marriage fanatics called this crazy, there was a million reasons that things like polygamy would not be coming next. Oops”


      1. Except, as the article repeatedly stated, this guy is not looking to go to the court house and get marriage licenses for the rest of his wives. He is, legally, in a monogomous marriage with one woman, and then claims to be ‘spiritually wedded’ to the others.

        Please explain how the fight for gay marriage has any impact on this situation. I just don’t see the connection.

        1. He would if it was legal or ok with other churches. This would be ok as long as it did not come with all kinds of benefits such as forcing employers to provide healthcare at the same rate as for one wife and big tax breaks. (Not sure if being married really helps with taxes anyway)

        2. Please explain the necessity of the ‘spiritually wedded’ classification.

          If it’s not an attempt to exert a social contract (Hey! Hands off! That’s my spiritual partner!), then what purpose is served by the classification?

          What so many overlook is the common view in society that “married couples” “belong” to each other. Most people, right or wrong, would understand a husband giving a beat down to some guy hitting on his wife at a social function. At what point does economic and social status trump the idea of an exclusive partnership?

          At this point in time, someone with low social and economic means is classified as an equal with very wealthy persons by society – It’s viewed as just as uncouth for an already married wealthy man to hit on a poor man’s wife as it is in the converse.

          That’s because the system of marriage, as it’s understood in our society, does not recognize the ‘collection’ of partners as being legitimate.

          Even if a woman leaves her poor husband for a wealthy married man, that man must still divorce his current spouse before claiming his new bride. There is a ‘trade up’, rather than an ‘addition’. Often, that trade up comes with large costs to the wealthy man. If the idea of exclusivity were abandoned, then the argument for divorce by the current wife is weakened – after all, why would she need to leave – she’s not being asked to leave – it’s just another wife added to the family?

          As it is now, there are no laws against the Hefner ‘multiple partner’ arrangement, but there are also no corresponding social taboos preventing those women from becoming paired with different men.

          Legitimizing the ‘harem’ is a bad idea.

      2. also polygamy in the US [EMPIRE] PRE-DATES gay marrage…by a century or so

    2. “The vast majority of our laws are based on forms of social morals/mores.”

      Which is why the vast majority of our laws are fucktarded. Fucktard.

    3. Women outnumber men in our society and in the city I am in by more than the average across the country. Plus more men than women just aren’t interested in marriage. So if some guys had 3-4 wives and some had 2 wives and most had just one or did not want to get married, it would be good for the females that want to be married and have children now but can’t. Some of them choose to raise a kid by themselves but that is harder.

  18. If Brown is being prosecuted for calling his arrangement a “plural marriage” then his first amendment rights are being violated. Otherwise, there’s no US Constitutional argument to be made. I have no interest in reading Utah’s state constitution.

    IMO, Brown should just put a bullet in the head of anyone who attempts to arrest him.

  19. There are certain historical factors at work here to do with polygamy that end up having long-term ramifications in LDS circles. Because of them, many people in Utah have a vested interest in keeping the word “marriage” from being applied to polygamy. Mormons are actually probably more likely to tolerate gay marriage that to countenance calling polygamous unions marriage, but the LDS involvement in the Prop 8 debate is, in my opinion, a rear-guard action (no pun intended) against the definition of marriage being opened up in a way that would allow for legal polygamy.

    The reason is that the moment that polygamy becomes legal there is an argument to be made (based on LDS leaders’ statements starting in the 1880s and going through the 1930s) that the church would be obligated to return to the practice of polygamy.

    It was never revoked as a principle; it was revoked a practice because of the threat of legal force against the church, and leaders at that point mourned the loss and talked about the day when it would be restored. The ban on it was thus always depicted as temporary.

    Fast forward to 2011 and I don’t think many Mormons want to deal with polygamy in practical terms (vs. the hypothetical of an indefinite future when it will be restored), so it’s much easier to keep the lid on marriage as one man + one woman and to keep it at that by combatting gay marriage.

    Were it not for that particular Mormon cultural heritage bit, I think Mormons would still have opposed gay marriage, but probably not with so much energy.

    1. “It was never revoked as a principle; it was revoked a practice because of the threat of legal force against the church, and leaders at that point mourned the loss and talked about the day when it would be restored. The ban on it was thus always depicted as temporary.”

      Except the Book of Mormon itself, in its current form anyway, EXPLICITLY prohibits polygamy. At least my copy does. (I’m not Mormon, but I’ve read it.) It’s going to be hard to argue around that, since it’s their Scripture.

      1. Actually, it’s pretty routinely argued against without any difficulty: the statement is that that injunction was made for a particular time and place, not as a blanket injunction.

        While the Book of Mormon does have an injunction against polygamy, the Doctrine and Covenants (the LDS scripture that actually defines how Mormonism functions) has a LOT of statements in favor of polygamy. In fact, it was explicitly argued in that text and in many sermons, that for Mormons to enter the “highest degree of glory” that polygamy was required. Polygamy was so central to early LDS self-conceptions that it was routinely called “The Principle” (emphasis added).

        When it was officially revoked (but not actually revoked as the practice continued for some years after 1890), the rhetoric was that it was revoked only because God had decided that it was better to see it temporarilysuspended than to see the destruction of the Church and that it would come back. (See the 18th paragraph at that link?the one starting “The question is this: “?for a sample of this sort of argument. Sorry I can’t get a link directly to the paragraph to work)

        So, despite the pretty unambiguous statement in the Book of Mormon, it’s not hard at all to argue around it. Actual practice wins out over the “problematic” portion of LDS scripture.

        What you point out is the universal human tendency to explain away what people don’t want and to try to reconcile conflicts to make them seem to be only apparent conflicts.

        1. Note to my above comment: Although the practice officially ended ~1888, the practice continued at low levels until ~1910. The Wikipedia article is pretty good on this.

          1. “Note to my above comment: Although the practice officially ended ~1888, the practice continued at low levels until ~1910”

            NONE of which in any way demonstrates that your previous lies are not lies. The practice is OFFICIALLY outlawede, and is ALSO outlawed IN PRACTICE. Your point, that a few breakaway individuals are still doing it, in NO WAY proves anything other than your willingness to lie about something that a few outcasts do in order for you to portray it as doctrine.

        2. “Actually, it’s pretty routinely argued against without any difficulty: the statement is that that injunction was made for a particular time and place, not as a blanket injunction.”

          NOTHING you said there is factually correct. What kind of pathetic loser lies about THIS crap on the internet?

      2. Except the guy who made up the Book of Mormon was a polygamist. That is evidence enough for me that it is approved. Also as far as I know the Doctrine and Covenants is just as important as the BOM.

    2. The LDS church likes to claim they preside over ALL Mormons, but that’s really not true. All they’ve achieved by their claim though, is that quite a few sects that are nearly indistinguishable from mainstream Mormonism really HATE being called Mormons.

      1. There’s more than a little question begging going on there, just like the Evangelicals who like to claim that Mormons aren’t Christians and when Mormons reply that they are then tell them that they aren’t “real Christians”. Mormons get annoyed at that and then turn around and do the same thing to those who aren’t part of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints over the term “Mormon” (itself a former pejorative term imposed by outsiders).

      2. “The LDS church likes to claim they preside over ALL Mormons…”

        No they don’t. In fact, church leaders go out of their way to distance themselves from other ‘Mormon sects’, particularly the polygamous ones.

        1. He’s actually right: the argument is that only mainline LDS are properly called “Mormons”. All the other folks out there that call themselves Mormons aren’t really Mormons. It’s exactly analogous to the Baptist claims about Mormons not being Christians. So they will claim that Christians believe in the Three-in-One Trinity. Mormons will say “we don’t believe in that and we’re Christians” and the Baptists will say “no you’re not Christians, because Christians believe in the Three-in-One Trinity”.

          So, if you buy the LDS definition of the Mormonism, the the LDS Church does claim to preside over ALL Mormons because, by definition, those “Mormon sects” aren’t Mormons.

          1. Reading Bergs comment again, I think you’re right.

          2. “He’s actually right”

            No, you blathering moron, he is not. Why are you so vested in splattering your ignorance on this subject all over the page?

      3. “The LDS church likes to claim they preside over ALL Mormons, but that’s really not true.”

        Actually, that claim is not true. I joined the Church at 18, in 1975, and NOT ONCE have I ever heard this claim or anything close to it from any official Church source.

        Considering the fact that the Church and the Community of Christ (nee Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) have been on good terms and cooperated on a number of projects since the 1860s, it would be kind of difficult for us to then turn around and claim to preside over them.

  20. Is this really a problem? With the modern state of divorce law, a man who marries several women is asking to get pulled apart like a boiled chicken.

    What is wrong with marriage isn’t that Gays or Polygamists are getting married. What’s wrong with marriage is that it is easier to get out of than a cell phone contract. We should concentrate on fixing that, and on limiting it to consenting adults not too closely related to each-other.

    1. Why should “we” do anything? What interest do you have in the outcome of other people’s marriages?

      1. I have a sharply focused interest in seeing that people are held to their commitments.

        1. Wow.. what an obnoxious person you must be in real life.

    2. Why should we concentrate on fixing the fact that it’s easy to get out of a marriage? Marriage is essentially a contract between two people, and people should be able to dissolve their contracts when they choose, and according to the terms of the contract. This view that civil marriage- religious marriages are a different story altogether- is anything other than a contract between two people to live their lives together under ageed-upon conditions is complete bullshit.

      1. If a marriage contract is to be dissolved, it should be on terms that are fair to both parties. At the moment, this is clearly not the case.

        1. “”If a marriage contract is to be dissolved, it should be on terms that are fair to both parties.””

          If it was that easy all divorces would be uncontested. Fair to both parties is in the eye of the beholder. Often what is fair by objective standards isn’t fair to one of the parties. So who becomes the holder of the objective standard?

    3. WTF your solution is to have more government control of marriages and force people at gun point to remain married? Jesus christ.

  21. If a man isn’t getting enough grief from one wife and wants some more, let him have it.

    1. a navy friend married 2 sisters in the phillipines in a local ceremony. both live w him stateside. he luvs it cause they keep each other company (instead of driving him crazy) & trade chores including driving the kidz around. now another sis wants to come over. he hasnt decided

      1. Oh man…those women have your friend right where they want him. And the beauty of it is I bet he thinks he’s in control.

      2. 3 Pinay is too many. Have him send me the 3rd sister’s pic and I may save him from the danger that he faces.

  22. The state should have nothing to do with marriage what so ever. The state deciding who can get married, is as stupid as the state deciding how much salt I decide to put in my food … oh wait.

  23. My personal opinion is that polygamy is bad for society because it’s bad for women’s rights and bad for anyone who wants an egalitarian society where all people have equal opportunity in life.

    That said, I think that the point here isn’t whether society (or religion) should approve or disapprove of certain behaviors for whatever reasons. The point is that government should be neutral.

    1. If polygamy exists among consenting adults who choose to be in that kind of relationship, how is it bad for women’s rights? I don’t see it having any effect on women’s rights at all. If polygamy were legal in the US, it would have to be legal both ways- men could have multiple wives and women could have multiple husbands. Women in polygamist marriages had the choice to decline to marry a polygamist man.

      Please note, we are not talking about polygamist sects where teenaged girls are being married off to 60 year old men without their consent- we’re talking about a polygamist arrangment between consenting adults. In that case, it’s a choice, and what is more equal than allowing a woman to make a choice about her own relationships?

    2. So, in the name of equality and freedom of choice for women, you’d deny women the right to make their own choices?

      1. Reading is fundamental.

  24. Where do people get this idea that a polygamous group must consist of one man and several women? I haven’t counted, but I’m fairly sure I’ve encountered about as many one woman/several men-poly relationships as I’ve encountered one man/several women-relationships.

    1. Polygyny is just the most visible here in America and much of the West. But polyandry was quite popular in many parts of the world.

      I expect that it might start to rise in China in the coming decades with the large disparity between boys and girls because of the one-child policy. It’s either share or go out and conquer foreign lands to get your women.

      1. The other alternative that pops up in polygamous societies is a lot of semi-illicit homosexuality (often quite institutionalized) since those societies tend to keep women locked up and the only outlet is homosexual behavior. (Note that I’m not saying “gay” since that’s not the same thing.) Think of the dancing boys in Afghanistan. They’ll stone you for being homosexual, but behind closed doors there are a lot of men with no sexual outlet among females who are boinking each other.

        1. Prison rape!

  25. The problem isn’t that there are too few boos, the problem is that there aren’t enough!

  26. I don’t think that polygamy is a great idea for most people. But I also don’t think it is any of my business what living arrangements other people have. And I don’t think that even if explicitly legalized, polygamy would be very common. Most people don’t seem to be emotionally equipped to deal with a plural relationship like that. That’s why th eslippery slope argument about changing the definition of marriage doesn’t do much for me: most people are naturally inclined to be more or less monogamous, at least when it comes to serious long term relationships.

    1. First you have to talk the wife or girlfriend into it. Not going to be an easy sell, me thinks. Then, when a few of these go south, people will think twice before doing it, so they will not be all that common. But so what if they are. Mind your own business. The first (and only?) rule of libertarianism (i.e. uber-liberalism)

    2. It might be more popular amongst those who actually afford to handle multiple wives.

  27. Who the fuck are these guys??

    Imagine 4x drama, stockpiles of sanitary napkins, bed time headaches, drawers of cosmetics, dented fenders, screaming brats, mother-in-law visits. The fucking shoe budget alone would make you want to drive pins in your eyes.
    If watching two women get it on is this important to you, rent a fucking video.

    1. Exactly… I have one wife, I would have to be crazy to want another while I still have the first. Also I highly doubt the one benefit of having threesomes or more would ever happen. They seem to share the husband and accept what he does with the other wives but there does not seem to be any hint that they all get it on together.
      In general we all just need to stay the fuck out of everyones lives. What’s next taking kids away from their parents because they are overweight. Oh shit they already thought of that.

  28. Keeping polygamy illegal is how the government keeps women poor.

    1. And men sane.

      1. Yeah, I don’t know how he does it really. Mutiple sex partners great. Multiple wives, no thanks.

  29. In reality monogamy is about making sure that lower status males have access to wives and moving to a different type of social arrangement would be a disaster for them.

    Males out number females at birth by something like 104:100. So, built in, there is a shortage of females. Polygamy (in the vast majority of cases, polygyny-or one male with multiple wives) exacerbates that shortfall. It has been shown that marriage has beneficial effects for males (they live longer and have lower rates of mental illness and other pathologies as ompared to males who do not marry).

    Males are much less likely to be interested in polyandrous marriages (one female and many males) since that leaves the issue of paternity in doubt and makes the individual male respnsible for a child that might not be his. The laws in this case are in place to protect him-not her.

    1. So let women and men both marry more than one person. Think about it, two or more wives would be easier to deal with if they had more than just you as a husband.

      1. Once again-there is a lot less incentive for a woman to accept multiple lower status males as husbands than there is for a man to accept multiple lower status females. No such relationship as you posit is likely because multiple husbands are superfluous-one male can impregnate many females, but a female can only be impregnated by one male. In all likelihood the higher status male in such a relationship would get the most access to the females while the lower status males would get less (or none)-if you doubt that this is true then consider how much more difficult it is for males to find sex than females since females are a lot more likely to share higher status “Alphas” (even as “booty calls”) than settle for relationships with lower status “Betas”. Relationships as you propose would put lower status males on the hook for support financially, but offer them few of the benefits of marriage.

        As said above “legitimizing the harem is a bad idea”. Institutionalized monogamy levels the playing field for the lower status males and anything else would be a disaster for them.

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  31. In a free society, we wouldn’t care about Kody Brown’s marital desires.

  32. If he lives and sleeps with four women without the benefit of marriage, it’s OK. If he lives and sleeps with four MEN, it’s OK. He can hold a government job, be a police officer, a teacher a doctor or a firefighter.
    If he asserts his values under the First Amendment and marries, he’s in trouble?

  33. So if one guy with health insurance married 15 women they all get health insurance. That insurance will be paid by the 14 unmarried men.

    How will social security and pensions work? Do the 5 wives get 5x the benefits or 1/5. Does each wife get Medicare?

    That’s the problem with plural marriage. Actually gay marriage is presented as a civil rights issue, but will become a windfall for the gay couples.

    1. Why do I care if a company based on gambling takes a hit? Why do I care if a bunch of gamblers who have made bets with the company have the minimum bet increased? Insurance companies can all die in a fire as far as I’m concerned. Preferably yesterday. Insurance companies are parasites, and users of insurance companies are the (usually unwitting) hosts.

      Provide medical care for everyone. Assess the cost at the end of the year, tax accordingly. Same for education. Educated, healthy people make for a prosperous society. This is obvious; arguments against it are always hilarious.

      And as for multiple partners… the problem, as always, is marriage. Skip that, and win. Fall into the gullibility traps — religious, social, sexual — and you lose.

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