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Pro-Polygamists Relieved Supreme Court Refused to Hear Holm Case

Date: Feb 26, 2007
Word Count: 750 words
Cross-Reference: Rodney Holm, polygamy rights, Lawrence v. Texas


As the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal by Rodney Holm who is another member of the Utah-local rogue Mormon Polygamy sect, the FLDS pro-polygamists around the country are relieved that that inapplicable underage case will not be used for setting precedent on polygamy rights for consenting adults.

On   February   26,   2007,   the   U.S.   Supreme   Court   refused   to   hear   the   appeal   by   Mormon   Polygamist,   Rodney   Holm.       Not   only   were   national   polygamy   rights   activists   not   surprised   by   the   Courts   refusal,   many   were   quite   relieved. 
 
Rodney   Holm   was   a   member   of   the   FLDS,   "the   Fundamentalist   Church   of   Jesus   Christ   of   Latter   Day   Saints."       That   rogue   Mormon   Polygamy   sect   is   the   same   one   led   by   former-fugitive   on   the   FBI's   Top   Ten   List,   Warren   Jeffs.     The   FLDS'   involvement   with   underage   and   arranged   marriage   has   long   been   opposed   at   the   national   level   of   the   movement   for   polygamy   rights   for   consenting-adults.     Christian   Polygamists,   secular   polygamists,   and   others   have   opposed   such   criminal   activities   of   the   FLDS   -   even   many   non-FLDS   Mormon   Polygamists   opposed   them   too. 
 
In   2003,   Holm   was   convicted   in   Utah   of   two   counts   of   unlawful   sexual   contact   with   a   minor   and   one   count   of   bigamy.       Although   legally   married   to   one   woman,   he   was   later   "religiously   married"   to   the   then-16-year-old   sister   of   his   legal   wife.     The   birth   of   two   children   by   the   time   she   was   18   proved   her   age   at   the   time   of   the   conceptions. 
 
Holm   first   appealed   his   convictions   to   the   Utah   State   Supreme   Court.     Upholding   those   convictions   on   May   16,   2006,   that   Court   decided   to   "have   its   cake   and   eat   it   too." 
 
Because   Holm   had   never   been   legally   married   to   the   then-16   year   old,   little   deliberation   was   required   to   find   him   guilty   of   the   two   counts   of   unlawful   sexual   contact.     Yet,   Utah   law   permits   a   man   to   legally   marry   a   16   year   old   with   parental   consent.     For   Holm   to   be   found   guilty   of   the   underage   charges,   the   Utah   State   Supreme   Court   ultimately   determined   that   he   was   not   married   to   her. 
 
Thereby,   the   Court   sought   to   "have   its   cake." 
 
Conversely,   to   obtain   a   finding   of   guilt   for   the   subsequent   count   of   bigamy,   the   Court   had   to   determine   that   Holm   was   married   to   her.     In   order   to   do   so,   the   proven   co-habitation   and   the   free   speech   act   of   Holms'   "purporting   to   marry"   her   had   both   provided   sufficient   evidence   in   the   Court's   determination   that   they   were   married.   The   Utah   State   Supreme   Court   even   went   so   far   as   to   determine   that   a   marriage   does   not   have   to   be   defined   by   legal   license     an   ironic   position   considering   that   pro-polygamists   have   always   posited   that   marriage   is   not   defined   by   government   license.     For   Holm   to   be   found   guilty   of   the   bigamy   charge,   the   Utah   State   Supreme   Court   determined   that   he   was   married   to   her. 
 
Thereby,   the   Court   sought   to   "eat   its   cake,   too." 
 
Since   the   two   underage   sexual   counts   require   the   determination   that   he   was   not   married   to   her,   then   one   could   argue   that   such   a   guilt   finding   perceivably   renders   the   bigamy   charge   as   fallacious.     A   person   is   not   married   if   they   are   not   married. 
 
Conversely,   since   the   bigamy   count   requires   the   determination   that   he   was   married   to   her,   then   one   could   argue   that   such   a   guilt   finding   perceivably   renders   the   two   underage   charges   as   fallacious.     A   person   who   is   married   is   allowed   to   have   marital   relations. 
 
So   which   is   it?     Was   Holm   not   married   to   her   and   thus   guilty   of   the   two   counts   of   sexual   contact   with   a   minor?       Or   was   he   married   to   her   and   thus   guilty   of   bigamy?         Logic   dictates   only   a   single   determination. 
 
But   rather   than   choose   one   side   either   way,   the   Court   instead   sought   to   "have   its   cake   and   eat   it   too."     It   effectively   said,   "Both."     The   convictions   were   upheld. 
 
Holm   subsequently   appealed   to   the   U.S.   Supreme   Court.      
 
An   argument   could   be   made   that   Utahs   age   of   consent   laws   give   unequal   and   special   rights.     Monogamists   are   granted   unequal   special   rights   to   marry   a   16   year   old   with   parental   consent,   while   the   act   of   polygamists   doing   the   exact   same   thing   is   criminalized.     Equality   under   the   law   requires   either   prohibiting   everyone     polygamists   and   monogamists   -   from   marrying   anyone   under   18   or   setting   one   universal   age   of   consent   for   everyone. 
 
But   that   is   an   argument   about   age   of   consent     not   polygamy.        
 
Even   so,   Holm's   appeal   cited   Lawrence   v.   Texas   (2003)   for   justification,   even   though   that   precedent   only   applied   to   consenting   adults.     Therein   was   the   fatal   flaw   for   Holms   appeal.     While   Lawrence   v.   Texas   can   apply   to   polygamy   cases   for   consenting   adults,   it   certainly   does   not   apply   to   cases   with   16   year   olds. 
 
Consequently,   the   U.S.   Supreme   Court   refused   to   hear   the   appeal.     Lawrence   v.   Texas   was   left   untainted   for   use   in   consenting-adult   polygamy   cases. 
 
Accordingly,   as   polygamy   rights   have   never   been   about   underage   issues,   anyway,   consenting-adult   pro-polygamists   around   the   country   were   quite   relieved   by   the   Courts   refusal. 


###


Bibliographic URLs:

http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/43109.php 
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660198871,00.html 
 
http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Holm051606.pdf 
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635208050,00.html 


[Reviewed for publication - Pro-Polygamy.com Review Board.]




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