Polygamists push back on bigamy bill in the Utah State Legislature

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that effectively “re-criminalizes” polygamy in Utah had a lengthy and emotional hearing, but its future in the Legislature is in doubt.

HB 99 Bigamy Offense Amendments is heard by the House Judiciary Committee, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 1, 2017 | Image courtesy of Fox13Now.com, St. George News

In a packed hearing that lasted late into the night Wednesday, members of Utah’s polygamous communities, anti-polygamy activists and even people involved in a reality TV cable show spoke out about the bill, Fox 13 Now’s Ben Winslow reported.

The bill, entitled Bigamy Offense Amendments and designated House Bill 99, is sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab. It would make it a crime in Utah for someone to live with multiple people and “purport” to be married. Polygamists object to that saying it gives prosecutors a weapon to go after them, even if they are adults in consenting relationships.

“They are hiding behind polygamy to get away with incest, underage marriages, child abuse, spousal abuse,” said LuAnn Cooper, an ex-member of the Kingston polygamous family, who testified in support of the bill.

Polygamist Joe Darger speaks against HB 99 Bigamy Offense Amendments in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 1, 2017 | Image courtesy of Fox13Now.com, St. George News

Joe Darger, a polygamist with three wives, and Lillian Foster, a plural wife, spoke against the bill, as related in Fox 13 Now’s report.

The bill was introduced in the Utah State Legislature as the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether to take the “Sister Wives” case, challenging the state’s historic ban on polygamy. Reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives sued the state, arguing Utah’s anti-bigamy laws violate their rights to religious freedom and privacy. A federal judge struck down part of Utah’s ban, allowing polygamists to cohabitate and purport to be married. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned it, ruling the Brown family did not really face a threat of prosecution by the state.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office cited Rep. Noel’s bill in urging the Supreme Court to not hear the case. Last month, the court declined to hear the “Sister Wives” case, leaving the lower court ruling in place which effectively “re-criminalized” plural marriage.

CONTINUE TO the full story here: Fox13Now.com.


Full text of the bill: 2017 HB 99 – Bigamy Offense Amendments – bill as introduced

Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox 13 Now.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 Fox13Now.com / KSTU, a Tribune Broadcasting Station.


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  • 42214 February 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    If Utah backs down and panders to the palygs we are no different from San Francisco. We become a sanctuary state.

  • comments February 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Most of them are closeted child molesters. The plyg culture fosters and breeds that sort of thing as the women are considered a possession of the man. The state has largely ignored it and tolerated it (both the polygamy and child sexual abuse) because so many mormons are still plygs and many who are not have a sympathy and respect for the plyg lifestyle–because of the prophet Joseph Smith’s teachings and practice of polygamy, obviously.

    • Utahguns February 2, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      Great point Comments….
      Another factor is the in-breeding among plyg relatives that produce challenged children. Take a look at the kids of plygs…..there seems to be a percentage of children who look to have a chromosome deficiency of some type.
      Is this fair to these kids? Why keep on in-breeding because your “prophet” tells you to do so?

      …and the sicko “prophet” Warren Jeffs is a cult leader just like:

      * David Koresh, a leader of the Branch Davidians. His preachings included “spiritual weddings” which enabled him to have a variety of sexual relationships with women and girls of all ages.
      * Marshall Applewhite and mystic Bonnie Lu Nettles of Heaven’s Gate that combined elements of Christianity with a belief that UFOs would provide followers with new bodies.
      * Reverend Jim Jones….. In 1978 over 900 brainwashed followers of Peoples Temple drank cyanide-laced Kool-Aid committing suicide.
      * Ervil Morrell LeBaron…..The Church of the Lamb of God murdered over 20 people under the direction of this polygamous Mormon fundamentalist leader. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints outlawed polygamy in the late 1800s, and this decision caused a number of extreme fundamentalist groups to spin off and move to isolated areas of the American Southwest or Mexico.
      * Charles Manson who formed The Manson Family in 1968. Because of his powers of persuasion, Manson leveraged a small number of members into a very large criminal impact.

      The similiarities are mind-numbing.

    • MeandME February 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Hahahhaa, how ignorant are you about the Mormon church?? Do research before stating stupid things like that.

      • comments February 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        Enlighten us oh wise one. I’ve done my research.

      • comments February 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

        And I’m on the books. Official LDS member here since 8yrs old, lol.

  • Harold S. February 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Because they co-habitate and are not legally married, their unwed wives qualify for free medical and SNAP cards for free food.
    Utah needs to legalize polygamy, kick them all off the state welfare system and tax them like everyone else.

  • Brian February 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks liberals. You screwed up sexual orientation, you screwed up gender, you screwed up marriage, you even screwed up race. This is the end result.

    How can you possibly argue against polygamy when sexual orientation and gender are entirely fluid and marriage can be whatever those involved say it is? As long as they are consenting adults and the above [lack of] standard is there, how can you argue otherwise?

    Marriage is between one man and one woman.

    Gender is fixed. Girls have two X chromosomes. Boys have one X and one Y chromosome. To believe differently is to actually deny science. You’re either XX or XY, even if you feel more masculine or more feminine that day, even if your body has some spare parts, and even if you want to spend the day in the other dressing rooms at Target.

    • comments February 2, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Yep, they’ve taken it way too far (the cultural leftists), but to be fair Utah’s plygs have been raping children long before cultural leftism became popular, and liberalism can hardly be blamed for their perverse lifestyle which was founded by the Prophet Brother Joseph Smith. The mormon gov’t of UT has refused to take a hard stance on polygamy since it was first outlawed, as stated for reasons in my previous comment. Take a deeper look into your own mormon history before blaming “the liberals” for this one.

    • ladybugavenger February 2, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Ya, thanks for nothing liberals.

      You’ve gone too liberal, real it in cupcake and get a backbone.

      • ladybugavenger February 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        I was agreeing with you Brian. I’m not calling you a cupcake 😉 have a blessed day

      • Rainbow Dash February 2, 2017 at 9:46 pm

        yea thank for nothing liberals,
        If it wasn’t for you rebel liberals, we’d be shouting ‘God save the Queen’!
        If it wasn’t for you god hating Liberals everyone in America would be Christian…Or else.
        If it wasn’t for you feminist liberals only men would be allowed to vote or have a say in…well…anything!
        If it wasn’t for you “Black Lives Matter” liberals we’d still have slavery.
        If it wasn’t for you big government liberals We’d still be able to turn dying people away at hospitals because they can’t pay.
        If it wasn’t for you “tax loving” liberals we wouldn’t have a public education system set up so that everyone, no matter how rich or poor, can get a decent education and a good shot at life. We also wouldn’t have a decent highway system, healthcare system or national parks to enjoy.

        Yep. You freedom hating liberals sure do know how to destroy America. Thanks for nothing.

        • Rainbow Dash February 2, 2017 at 10:09 pm

          Keep in mind that when I say all that, Im not defending polygamy….I think adults who want to enter into that sort of relationship can do so but they should not be able to get married under the current marriage laws. That said, they are free to petition and try to change the laws but I will not support a law that treats anyone unequally as would happen in the current situation.

    • Chris February 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      “Marriage is between one man and one woman.” That’s your morality. Why are you entitled to impose your personal beliefs on consenting adults who feel otherwise? How is that “freedom of religion”? But then, you have always promoted the “nanny state” wherein the government dictates the minute details of our personal lives. Your hypocrisy is pathetic.

  • utahdiablo February 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    The FLDS 12 Million welfare fraud case in not over by a long shot folks, just wait until the new US DOJ Head Jeff Sessions gets in, real law and order coming very soon…

  • .... February 2, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    They’re good decent honest hard working people that are simply misunderstood they are independent and self reliant God loving people trying to exist in a harsh and hateful society
    They are the soul of the earth and the future of our society and they deserve your love and support and understanding

    • Real Life February 3, 2017 at 6:36 am

      You need not try to sound stupid. It comes naturally.

  • Oceansize February 3, 2017 at 1:22 am

    1. Utah has always been a sanctuary for Polygamists. It’s only when the pressure gets to be too much, does the Local, State, or Federal government do anything about any of a multitude of fraud & abuse claims. 2. Yes there is no doubt many Mormons, especially in the State of Utah, do sympathize with Polygamists from a religious rights stand point, but very few outside of Utah do so. 3. No most Polygamists are not child molesters. If you knew even 1 or 2, you would know how wrong you are. 3. Most of the women involved in the food stamp fraud were doing what they were told to do, by the men at the top of a religious cult. Just like the members of the LDS cult do when they are told to do something. I’m not sure what gender identity, and legal definitions of marriage has to do with Polygamy, but I will say this about those two issue’s: Get over it. It’s either coming, or it’s already here. Just like women’s rights, voting rights, and civil rights or gay rights, gender identity rights, marriage rights, and especially animal rights, are inevitable, and coming.
    P.S. Oh goodie! “Real” law and order is on the way! Sieg Heil Mr. Goebbels.

    • comments February 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Nope, animal rights are never coming, not in my lifetime. The gays and the “trans-genders” only got their way because they are so obnoxious and were given so much free media attention, and most of them don’t care about animals.

  • comments February 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Expanding on UtahGun’s point, I think we need a law against the plyg’s habit of inbreeding thru cousin “marriages”, incest , etc. Maybe they have those laws. Then the question is, how do we enforce them w/o infringing on “religious liberty”? Those plygs have more in common with muslims than they’ll admit to.

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