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Utah considers decriminalizing polygamy

by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/19/20, 12:36 pm

The Utah state Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to ease the penalties for polygamy. The bill would treat the practice as an infraction similar to a parking ticket with punishment limited to a maximum $750 fine and community service hours. The bill now moves to Utah’s House of Representatives.

Why allow polygamy? Supporters of the bill say it would permit people in plural marriages to report abuse without fear of punishment. Opponents of the bill say it would normalize the practice and won’t help underage victims. Current law considers polygamy a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Dig deeper: Read Kiley Crossland’s report in Relations about groups seeking to normalize polyamory.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

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  •  RodC's picture
    Posted: Wed, 02/19/2020 01:47 pm

    I wouldn't think a $750 fine is the same as decriminalization. It seems that some have a different definition of "decriminalization" than others.


  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 02/19/2020 03:57 pm

    Seems weird to me that any misdemeanor would have a fine that high. And treating “the practice as an infraction similar to a parking ticket” sounds like a misdemeanor to me. 

    Just go ahead and legalize it.  The time for worrying about a slippery slope has passed. Put a minimum legal age of 18 on it, or 16 with written consent of a parent. 

    But I wonder, if the husband passes away, will each wife be entitled to full Social Security Survivors Benefits?  

    Polygamy was certainly common at many times in history, in many places. 

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 02/19/2020 04:35 pm

    Oh man, with one wife I'm in the doghouse half the time. If I had two (or more) wives ... I'd never get out!