Sunday, February 26, 2006

Polygamist: Current Law Violates Privacy Rights & Freedom of Religion

For some people, the "right to privacy" plus "sex between consenting adults" plus "freedom of religion" add up to polygamy. All three rights are touted as "unalienable" in modern America. And this is where the next challenge to traditional marriage is coming from: polygamists.

If there's no rational argument, according to liberal activist judges, to reserve marriage to two people of the opposite sex, what rational argument can be made to reserve marriage to only two people. Why not 3, 4, 5?

The Associated Press reports "Judge in Utah is ousted for polygamy." A truckdriver and part-time judge in Utah was just forced to step down from the bench due to his violation of Utah law against bigamy. He has three wives (who are sisters) and 32 children... And no doubt, generous welfare checks.

The polygamist says his right to privacy and freedom of religion have been violated by the ruling. "I had hoped that the court would see my case as an opportunity to correct the injustices that are caused by the criminalization of my religious beliefs and lifestyle," the ousted judge said. (From the Deseret Morning News, Feb. 25, 2006:)

[The mayor] acknowledged that although the circumstances were about polygamy, the opinion said very little about plural marriage. "Because the judge holds an important office, he can't engage in civil disobedience," [the mayor] said Friday.

He pointed out that both the Utah Attorney General's Office and the Washington County attorney declined to prosecute Steed or his wives for bigamy because they were all consenting adults. "The statute is never enforced. Why single out this judge for special treatment?" he said.

Pro-polygamy groups had hoped [Judge] Steed's case would lead to the decriminalization of polygamy. Mary Batchelor with the group Principle Voices of Polygamy called it hypocritical. "Judge Steed may not be prosecuted for having several wives, but ultimately his having multiple mistresses or committing adultery would not bring the same admonition or censure as this," she said. "Honestly, is the state going to fire judges who commit adultery? Would the state fire gay judges?"

For his part, Steed hopes polygamy is eventually decriminalized. "I am hopeful that the court will eventually consider the issue of polygamy as an aspect of personal privacy, marital rights and religious freedom," he said in his statement Friday. "I am proud of my efforts to bring the issue before the court and the people of Utah."