Argument: You cannot criminalize polygamy and not adultery

Issue Report: Polygamy

Supporting quotes

South Jordan

State only prosecutes those who call lovers ‘wives’

Utah’s bigamy statute is absurd because it criminalizes people’s thoughts. If you’re married, and you sleep with an extra bed partner, and in your mind she is your mistress, Utah prosecutors look the other way. If you think she is your plural wife, it’s a felony (five years). Attorney General Mark Shurtleff knows this and that’s why virtually no one gets charged. If it weren’t for the local and national resentment of its practitioners, polygamy would have been legal long ago. You have highlighted one of the greatest hypocrisies in American history.”

  • Martha Bailey, Chief author of a 2006 Queen’s University study calling for the legalization of polygamy in Canada told The Canadian Press, “Why criminalize the behaviour?. We don’t criminalize adultery.”[1]
  • Jonathan Turley. “Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy”. USAToday. 10/3/2004 – “Individuals have a recognized constitutional right to engage in any form of consensual sexual relationship with any number of partners. Thus, a person can live with multiple partners and even sire children from different partners so long as they do not marry. However, when that same person accepts a legal commitment for those partners “as a spouse,” we jail them.

Likewise, someone such as singer Britney Spears can have multiple husbands so long as they are consecutive, not concurrent. Thus, Spears can marry and divorce men in quick succession and become the maven of tabloid covers. Yet if she marries two of the men for life, she will become the matron of a state prison.”