December 16th, 2013
01:10 PM ET
10 months ago

Utah polygamy ruling criticized

(CNN) – Some social conservatives are blasting Utah's ruling striking down part of that state's law banning polygamy.

The suit was brought by the stars of the television reality series "Sister Wives," and a federal judge's ruling Friday throws out the law's section prohibiting "cohabitation," saying it violates constitutional guarantees of due process and religious freedom.


Judge strikes down part of Utah polygamy law in 'Sister Wives' case

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum - who a decade ago came under fire for comments indicating polygamy would become legal if courts banned anti-sodomy laws - responded to the ruling over the weekend.

"Sometimes I hate it when what I predict comes true," the former U.S. senator tweeted Sunday.

The Family Research Council, led by prominent social conservative Tony Perkins, also weighed the Utah statute, warning of "serious consequences of redefining marriage."

"Throughout history, marriage has been future-oriented, focused on the next generation and the best interests of children. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad," Perkins said Monday.

"However, redefining marriage to fulfill the desires of same-sex couples or polygamists only moves society away from this vital public interest and creates social chaos."

In striking down the section of the law Friday, Judge Clark Waddoups used a 2003 Supreme Court landmark gay rights case Lawrence v. Texas, which ruled that anti sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

During that Supreme Court ruling a decade ago, Santorum told the Associated Press that bans on sodomy would open the doors to a "right to polygamy" and other sexual acts.

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum said in 2003.

But Waddoups' ruling keeps in place the ban on bigamy "in the literal sense - the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage."

Some religious groups also criticized the ruling.

"This is what happens when marriage becomes about the emotional and sexual wants of adults, divorced from the needs of children for a mother and a father committed to each other for life," said Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"Polygamy was outlawed in this country because it was demonstrated, again and again, to hurt women and children. Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing."

CNN's Bill Mears and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    Polygamy needs to be legalized immediately. My pursuit of happiness, as guaranteed under the Constitution, is being violated. My wife has agreed to it and who are you all to say it is wrong and bad? Where is your proof of this? I need at least one wife that knows how to cook and clean the house.

    December 16, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Laverne

    The truth is a lot of people are into polygamist relationships they just call it mistresses or women on the side! Only difference is they usually don't all live together, however, many wives know about the other woman and are okay with it!

    December 16, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    "You have the right to do anything," is at best, a frothy overstatement.

    December 16, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Mmmmmmm, yesssssssss, let the hate and bigotry flow thru you, GOPers/Teatrolls......show us what you're made of....

    December 16, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "The truth is a lot of people are into polygamist relationships they just call it mistresses or women on the side! "

    Yes, and if it's not declared naughty, then it takes the fun out of it.

    December 16, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. stating the obvious

    Quite the stable of chubby blondes studly!! Can you give us any tips on how to get one of these puppies going?

    December 16, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    No right wing, political hypocrite will be able to resist this social issue. This is just what the Republicans needed, a major social issue, upon which they will feel compelled to make a principled stand on their morals. You know, for the party that is supposedly owns the copyright to personal liberty, they sure do spend an awful lot time, money, and energy into defeating personal freedom.

    December 16, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. just asking

    if they are all consenting adults, who cares how many wives a guy has? don't they have miultiple wives in the arab culture? it is not like it is unheard of. i say let people marry as many people as they want. spread the love around! stop discriminating against these people.

    December 16, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Polygamy needs to be legalized immediately. My pursuit of happiness, as guaranteed under the Constitution, is being violated. My wife has agreed to it and who are you all to say it is wrong and bad? Where is your proof of this? I need at least one wife that knows how to cook and clean the house."

    and your current wife needs at least one person who listens to her and cares about her feelings!

    December 16, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    In nations where polygamy is still accepted, the husband is required by law to provide equally for each wife. In other words, he's not allowed to leave one wife living in poverty and squallor while the others live in luxury. It's the reason polygamy is a dying practice amongst all but the most well-off.

    December 16, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. cumulus

    I get the feeling that he doesn't do alot around the house.

    December 16, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Where does the right wing and defense of marriage folks at on this one?

    December 16, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    We as a country need some serious help. How can anybody agree with this filth?

    December 16, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum said in 2003.
    ------------
    I must admit that Santorum makes a good point. It's a slippery slope, very slippery. Where do you draw the line? Who has the right, or the authority, to make the decision as to where the line is drawn? He makes a good point.

    But, what Santorum's well intentioned, but misguided, arrogance fails to make him realize is that slippery slope is a see-saw that can tip in either direction. Santorum thinks that his opinions are the only correct paths, and they should apply everyone. For a man who claims to defend liberty for himself, he sure knows how to define freedom for others.

    December 16, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    @Rudy NYC – No right wing, political hypocrite will be able to resist this social issue. This is just what the Republicans needed, a major social issue, upon which they will feel compelled to make a principled stand on their morals. You know, for the party that is supposedly owns the copyright to personal liberty, they sure do spend an awful lot time, money, and energy into defeating personal freedom.
    -----------------------------
    Absolutely, but much like every other GOp issue... they'll defend their principles to the sycophant lemmings (a la playbook) with much time and money. It's all fine for everyone.... as long as it's done their way.

    December 16, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Perfect Storm

    OK, I can see how this will work... Not all women like to clean, not all know how to cook, not all are able to do yard work. It is no different than putting together a fantasy baseball team. It could get a tad tricky bringing in the young ones from the farm team though. Might not go over to weel with some of the veterans on the team.

    December 16, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. just asking

    cumulus
    I get the feeling that he doesn't do alot around the house.
    -–

    why does he need to? looks like he needs to conserve his energy if you catch my drift....

    December 16, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    I would think santorum, who thumps the bible like an overripe melon, would be all for polygamy seeing how so many biblical characters had multiple wives. He also talks about freedom and less government interference in our lives all of the time, which again would seem out of line with his wanting to interfere with these consenting adults wishes and desires.
    Myself, I could care less if this feller wants to live with all these women... and they want to live with him.
    Pretty smart guy you have to admit, by marrying sisters he avoids the worst aspect of polygamy- multiple mother in laws.

    December 16, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. much thunder..little rain

    gays , multi wives....whats nexts ...i dont even want to know

    December 16, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    "Polygamy needs to be legalized immediately. My pursuit of happiness, as guaranteed under the Constitution, is being violated. My wife has agreed to it and who are you all to say it is wrong and bad? Where is your proof of this? I need at least one wife that knows how to cook and clean the house."

    I hope this was sarcasm ... BTW, how do you feel about one woman with many husbands? You know, one to take out the garbage, one to take care of the car, one to take care of the yard, and several others to handle the bedroom duties?

    December 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes: "Where does the right wing and defense of marriage folks at on this one?"

    Good question ... anything out there except the sound of crickets?

    December 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. rs

    just asking

    if they are all consenting adults, who cares how many wives a guy has? don't they have miultiple wives in the arab culture? it is not like it is unheard of. i say let people marry as many people as they want. spread the love around! stop discriminating against these people.
    _____________________
    Because typically across the Arizona Strip and southern Utah, these second wives and associated offspring are on the welfare rollsgetting government assistance and food support as "single parent families". Fraud my friend, these folks commit fraud, and the proof lies in the palatial houses (ha! dormatories) built throughout this region, aided, abetted and skimmed by the leaders of their "church".

    December 16, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Warren

    It's none of my business.

    December 16, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. anonymous

    Sniffit
    -–
    "Polygamy needs to be legalized immediately. My pursuit of happiness, as guaranteed under the Constitution, is being violated. My wife has agreed to it and who are you all to say it is wrong and bad? Where is your proof of this? I need at least one wife that knows how to cook and clean the house."
    -–
    and your current wife needs at least one person who listens to her and cares about her feelings!
    --

    How do YOU know what my wife needs and doesn't need? Keep your nose out of our relationship. We are mature adults that can make our own decisions.

    December 16, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Perhaps my response is colored by the fact that I'm a woman, but reading about these folks (I've never watched the program nor plan to) brings me back to the same conclusion that this is one big ego trip for a guy who isn't mature enough to handle monogamy and needs some kind of permission slip from God so he doesn't feel bad about cheating on his wife.

    And the women? Yikes, beyond the pale when it comes to lacking self-esteem.

    December 16, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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