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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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