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Federal court hears 'Sister Wives' lawsuit

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 3:03 am •  Published: January 18, 2013
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Waddoups said the Browns' 17 children are irrelevant to the case, and Turley argued that sex and child abuse was just as common in monogamous families.

Waddoups challenged Jensen on whether Utah was cracking down on a religion. Most polygamists in the state call themselves fundamentalist Mormons, although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

"Every state in the nation has these laws — and not every state has Mormon polygamists," replied Jensen, who argued that bigamy was not merely adultery. "I'll tell you what makes it different — the harm to women and children coming out of a polygamous relationship. We have a history of it in Utah — stories in the thousands."

Turley said Utah has to prove the harm of polygamy, not assert general statements. He argued the exile of young boys was a myth and that Utah was trying to enforce morality.

"We're asking for what Justice Brandeis called the most important constitutional right, the right to be left alone," Turley said, referring to Louis Brandeis, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939.