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Hefner's 3 "Wives" OK for TV, but Judge's 3 "Wives" Costs Job

Date: Nov 03, 2005
Word Count: 1500 words
Cross-Reference: plural cohabitation, "Girls Next Door", Hugh Hefner, Judge Steed

As Hugh Hefner’s three young cohabiting women appear on the cover of Playboy magazine and on a new TV reality show on E!, a small-town Utah Judge could lose his 25-year job for cohabiting with three women for decades.

In   November,   2005,   on   newsstands   around   the   globe,   Playboy   magazine's   November   cover   displays   Hugh   Hefner's   three   live-in   women.     This   is   in   co-ordination   with   the   new   reality   TV   show   on   E!,   called,   "Girls   Next   Door,"   airing   Sunday   nights   at   10:00   PM   EST.     At   the   same   time,   a   small   town   part-time   judge   in   Utah,   named   Walter   Steed,   is   fighting   to   keep   his   job   before   the   Utah   State   Supreme   Court.     Although   convicted   of   no   crime,   a   Utah   state   commission   had   recommended   that   he   be   removed   from   the   bench   for   violating   bigamy   laws.     Although   legally   married   to   only   one   since   1965,   Steed   was   -   in   total   -   cohabiting   with   three   live-in   women.     The   juxtaposition   of   these   two   events   vividly   exposes   the   hypocrisy   and   tyranny   of   anti-polygamy   laws. 
The   premise   of   the   "Girls   Next   Door"   reality   TV   show   is   simple.     Cameras   follow   the   three   platinum-blonde   young   women   as   they   conduct   their   lives   as   Hugh   Hefner's   three   "official"   girlfriends.   They   plurally   cohabit   with   him   at   the   official   Playboy   Mansion.    
The   first   young   woman   is   Holly   Madison.     She   is   25,   from   Craig,   Alaska.     When   she   was   a   Hawaiian   Tropics   model,   Holly   was   spotted   and   invited   by   a   friend   of   Hefner   to   attend   one   of   the   Playboy   Mansion's   parties.     After   a   year   of   attending   such   parties,   Holly   was   asked   by   Hugh   Hefner   himself   to   become   one   of   his   live-in   women.     Two   days   later,   Holly   began   cohabiting   at   the   Playboy   Mansion. 
Next   to   join   the   Hefner   arrangement   is   Bridget   Marquardt.     She   is   31,   from   Lodi,   California.     She   had   originally   submitted   pictures   in   hopes   of   appearing   in   the   Playboy   magazine.     In   early   2002,   although   the   magazine   had   declined   her   submission,   Hugh   Hefner   called   her   to   ask   her   out.     By   the   end   of   the   year,   Bridget   was   also   cohabiting   at   the   Playboy   Mansion. 
The   third   and   currently   last   young   woman   to   enter   the   situation   is   Kendra   Wilkinson.     She   is   20,   from   San   Diego,   California.     She   met   Hugh   Hefner   a   year   and   half   ago,   in   April,   2004.     That   first   meeting   was   at   his   78th   birthday   party   celebration,   when   she   was   18   -   and   she   was   "dressed"   only   in   body   paint.     Kendra   soon   moved   in   to   the   Playboy   Mansion,   joining   the   others. 
On   the   reality   TV   show,   all   three   women   openly   adore   and   unblushingly   gush   on   the   79-year-old   millionaire   media   mogul.     They   frequently   call   Hugh   Hefner   "honey"   and   affectionately   kiss   him   regularly,   while   not   being   lascivious   about   it.     He   genuinely   appears   to   seek   out   to   make   each   one   happy   and   considers   their   feelings   in   various   situations   of   real   life.     They   conduct   themselves   much   as   many   a   wife   normally   would,   notwithstanding   the   "Playboy   lifestyle"   and   its   affluence.     And   he   treats   them   as   many   a   normal   and   thoughtful   husband   would   treat   a   wife. 
In   effect,   the   show   actually   presents   all   three   of   the   plurally   cohabiting   women   as   "wives."     They   just   lack   a   government   marriage   license. 
The   presentation   of   Hugh   Hefner   and   three   cohabiting   women   is   legal,   seemingly   acceptable,   and   apparently   even   mass-marketable   for   airing   as   a   reality   TV   show   in   November,   2005. 
Yet,   at   the   same   time   that   this   is   happening,   another   man,   also   living   with   three   adult   cohabiting   women,   was   fighting   just   to   keep   his   small   town   job   as   part-time   Judge. 
In   1980,   Walter   Steed   was   appointed   as   Justice   Court   judge   in   the   small   border-town   of   Hildale,   Utah.     For   25   years,   Steed   served   that   part-time   job,   making   rulings   in   cases   involving   matters   such   as   drunk   driving   and   domestic   violence.       Utah   Justice   Court   Judges   are   only   authorized   to   judge   in   small   class   B   or   C   misdemeanors,   with   punishments   no   greater   than   six   months   in   prison   or   $1000   fines.     None   of   his   rulings   were   found   to   be   suspect   or   otherwise   inappropriate. 
In   November,   2003,   a   little   Utah   group   of   former   Fundamentalist   Mormon   women   -   who   call   themselves,   "Tapestry   Against   Polygamy"   -   filed   a   complaint   against   Steed   with   Utah's   Judicial   Conduct   Commission.     A   14-month   investigation   then   followed. 
The   investigation   determined   that   Judge   Steed,   in   his   own   personal   and   private   life,   had   been   cohabiting   -   for   decades   -   with   three   women   as   "wives." 
Steed   had   legally   married   his   first   wife,   Janet   Jessop,   40   years   ago   in   1965.     Ten   years   later,   in   1975,   his   wife's   sister,   Marilyn   Jessop,   was   religiously   "sealed"   as   a   second   wife.     Another   ten   years   after   that,   in   1985,   a   second   biological   sister,   Viola   Jessop,   was   also   religiously   "sealed"   as   the   family's   third   wife.     While   all   cohabiting   as   one   Mormon   Polygamous   family,   Steed   only   had   a   marriage   license   with   the   first   wife. 
According   to   the   complaint   by   the   small   group   of   former   Fundamentalist   Mormon   women,   the   proof   of   Judge   Steed's   cohabitation   with   the   three   women   "proves"   he   is   violating   Utah's   bigamy   law.       Bigamy   is   a   third-degree   felony   in   Utah,   with   sentences   up   to   five   years   in   prison.     Concluding   the   investigation,   Utah's   Judicial   Conduct   Commission   called   for   Judge   Steed   to   be   removed   from   the   bench   as   of   February,   2006. 
But   this   case   was   unlike   any   other   modern   polygamy   court   case.     While   criminals   in   the   recent   past   have   been   prosecuted,   convicted,   and   sentenced   for   the   cohabitation   aspect   of   polygamy,   that   has   only   ever   occurred   after   such   criminals   had   committed   other   crimes.     No   one   in   modern   history   has   ever   been   charged   -   never   mind   convicted   -   for   simple   cohabitation-only   polygamy. 
And   indeed,   Steed   was   never   convicted   -   not   even   prosecuted   -   for   the   supposed   crime   of   bigamy.     He   had   not   even   been   charged.     In   fact,   both   the   Utah   State   Attorney   General   and   the   local   Washington   County   prosecutor   actually   declined   to   prosecute   Judge   Steed   at   all. 
After   all,   no   crimes   were   involved.     Moreover,   the   town   of   Hildale,   Utah,   is   a   tiny   community   where   polygamy   is   not   uncommon.     All   three   women   had   been   clearly   adults   when   each   joined   the   Steed   family.     All   three   women   were   fully   cognizant   of   each   other's   participation   in   the   family.     Only   the   first   wife   had   a   government   marriage   license.     No   one   in   the   family   ever   expected   that   there   would   be   a   marriage   license   for   the   second   or   third   marriages.     And   Steed's   private   and   personal   family   life   was   never   considered   to   have   interfered   with   any   of   his   judgments   as   Judge. 
All   that   remained   possibly   applicable,   therefore,   was   that   the   Steed   family   was   plurally   cohabiting   and   that   the   three   women   were   free   speech   verbalized   as   "wives." 
(It   should   be   additionally   noted   that   some   pro-polygamists   -   such   as   Christian   Polygamists   -   do   not   advocate   for   marrying   biological   sisters   or   for   the   Mormon   doctrinal   reasons   for   applying   polygamy,   of   course.     However,   a   handful   of   specific   Fundamentalist   Mormon   communities   obviously   do   accept   such   views.     More   importantly,   though,   the   issues   of   marrying   sisters   or   of   overall   Fundamentalist   Mormon   presuppositions   for   polygamy   are   both   very   different   issues   from   polygamy   itself.     Such   other   specific   issues   are   more   appropriately   addressed   on   their   own,   separate   from   the   generic   matter   of   polygamy.) 
Despite   Steed   not   even   being   charged   with   any   crime,   Utah's   Judicial   Conduct   Commission   forced   the   issue   by   recommending   his   removal   as   Judge. 
So,   on   November   2,   2005,   Judge   Steed   faced   the   Utah   State   Supreme   Court   justices   at   his   hearing   at   the   J.   Reuben   Clark   School   of   Law   at   Brigham   Young   University.   (In   a   hilarious   irony   of   contradiction,   the   university's   namesake   refers   to   the   most   renowned   Mormon   Polygamist   of   all   Latter   Day   Saints'   history.)    
Steed's   attorney,   Rod   Parker,   argued   before   the   Justices   that   this   case   is   being   unfairly   applied   in   a   selective   fashion   -   instead   of   law   being   applied   all-inclusively.     He   declared   that   the   case   is   a   matter   of   privacy,   freedom   of   conscience,   and   freedom   of   religion.     Parker   concluded   that   the   matter   is   an   equal   protection   problem,   arbitrarily   allowing   some   citizens   but   selectively   pursuing   after   others   for   the   same   thing. 
The   Utah   State   Supreme   Court   Justices   will   use   the   subsequent   90   days   to   decide   the   case   by   February,   2006.     They   will   be   deciding   if   Steed   should   be   removed   as   Judge   for   something   to   which   he   has   not   even   been   charged   or   convicted.     However,   Chief   Justice   Christine   Durham   officially   decided   that,   in   the   meantime,   Steed   would   not   have   to   be   placed   on   administrative   leave. 
As   that   decision   remains   pending   until   February   2006,   both   the   timing   and     juxtaposition   of   Steed's   case   with   Hugh   Hefner's   "Girls   Next   Door"   expose   the   clear   hypocrisy   and   tyranny   of   the   anti-polygamy   laws. 
Because   tyrannical   anti-polygamy   laws   include   outdated   cohabitation   clauses,   a   Judge   of   25   years   could   lose   his   job.     The   only   reason   for   that   action   is   because   -   in   his   own   private   life   that   does   not   affect   his   job   -   he   has   had   lifelong-committed   plural   cohabitation   with   three   women   for   decades,   to   whom   he   uses   his   free   speech   to   call   them   as   wives.    
Yet,   Hugh   Hefner   displays   his   lesser-committed   cohabitation   with   three   young   women   -     who   essentially   act   as   "wives"   anyway,   even   though   they   never   use   their   free   speech   to   verbalize   it.     The   market-acceptability   for   Hefner's   three   cohabiting   women   arrangement   is   so   great   that,   not   only   do   the   women   appear   on   the   cover   (and   in   an   inside-pictorial)   of   Playboy   magazine,   but   their   lives   are   presented   in   a   weekly   reality   TV   show. 
Since   such   a   show   of   plural   cohabitation   is   sufficiently   legal   and   mass-marketable   for   TV,   then   firing   Judge   Steed   for   plural   cohabitation   is   hypocrisy   and   tyranny. 
Plural   cohabitation   cannot   be   illegal.     Now,   that   is   reality.


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