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Pro-Polygamists ponder 'Legalization' case

Date: Jan 13, 2004
Word Count: 300 words
Cross-Reference: Legalize polygamy, Utah lawsuit

Even though pro-polygamists usually argue for de-criminalization, a Utah attorney has filed a lawsuit seeking to legalize polygamy.

Old   Orchard   Beach,   Maine   ---   Even   though   pro-polygamists   usually   argue   for   "de-criminalization"   of   anti-polygamy   laws,   one   state   attorney   has   taken   the   initiative   to   file   a   lawsuit   to   get   polygamy   "legalized"   in   Utah.     The   particular   case   involves   no   crime   ---   only   a   married   man   being   denied   a   marriage   license   to   legally   marry   a   second   wife. 
On   December   22,   2003,   G.   Lee   Cook,   accompanied   by   his   wife,   D.   Cook,   and   the   intended   second   wife-to-be,   J.   Bronson,   applied   for   a   marriage   license   and   paid   the   $50   fee   at   the   Salt   Lake   County   clerk's   office.     His   application   openly   noted   that   he   was   already   married.     The   license   was   denied.     They   were   refunded   their   money. 
Attorney   Brian   Barnard   filed   their   lawsuit   in   a   U.S.   District   Court   on   Monday,   January   12,   2004,   seeking   to   overturn   the   1878   U.S.   Supreme   Court   Decision,   Reynolds   v.   United   States,   which   had   upheld   Utah's   federally-coerced   ban   on   polygamy.     The   suit   cites   recent   decisions   such   as   Lawrence   v.   Texas   which   established   a   "right   to   privacy"   for   consenting   adults. 
The   lawsuit   asserts   that,   by   denying   the   marriage   license,   the   clerks   violated   the   claimants'   First   Amendment   right   to   practice   their   religion.     According   to   the   suit,   "The   sincere   and   deeply   held   religious   major   tenet   of   the   beliefs   of   J.   Bronson,   D.   Cook   and   G.   Lee   Cook   are   that   the   doctrine   of   plural   marriage,   i.e.,   a   man   having   more   than   one   wife,   is   ordained   of   God   and   is   to   be   encouraged   and   practiced." 
Mark   Henkel,   national   polygamy   advocate   and   founder   of   the   Christian   polygamy   ---   non-Mormon   ---   organization,     (   ),   was   not   surprised   by   the   news.     "We   had   known   that   some   individual   Utah   Mormon   polygamists   were   preparing   to   advance   this   'legalization'   route   in   the   courts." 
He   notes   that   Lawrence   v.   Texas   and   Romer   v.   Evans   specifically   guarantee   "de-criminalization"   of   polygamy,   overturning   all   anti-polygamy   laws   for   consenting   adults.     Henkel   said,   "The   Utah   attorney   definitely   has   a   big   job   ahead   of   him   to   pursue   the   'legalization'   route,   though   ---   especially   when   combining   that   with   the   'freedom   of   religion'   argument." 
Henkel   looks   forward   to   how   the   case   will   play   out.     "Unfortunately,   seeking   'legalization'   could   backfire,   as   conservatives-acting-liberal   exploit   it   to   justify   the   idolatrous   Federal   Marriage   Amendment.   Yet,   in   the   end,   this   case   could   actually   cause   most   people   to   embrace   the   TruthBearer   organization's   ultimate   legal   argument,   anyway.     Namely,   rather   than   debate   about   which   consenting   adults   are   legally   'allowed'   to   be   married   by   the   false   god   of   government,   let's   just   get   government   out   of   marriage   altogether.   Hence,   this   'legalization'   case   could   motivate   'de-criminalization'   as   the   most   popular,   publicly-acceptable   solution." 
"Plus,"   said   Henkel,   "this   is   just   the   beginning.     We   have   some   solidly   Christian   people   who   have   absolute   'standing'   to   file   their   own   lawsuits   for   'de-criminalization.'     The   'freedom   of   religion'   argument   won't   be   necessary,   either.     Some   have   been   so   oppressed   by   the   tyranny   of   unconstitutional   anti-polygamy   laws   that   their   story   will   easily   garner   enormous   public   sympathy. 
"Legalization?   De-criminalization?     'Polygamy   rights'   are   coming.     Free   at   last.   Free   at   last.   Great   God   Almighty,   we'll   be   free   at   last!" 


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