U.S. Supreme Court Denies ‘Sister Wives’ Polygamy Case Petition

Posted on Jan 23 2017 - 1:38pm by BeachSpin

The Kody Brown family’s quest for legal “freedom to love” has been shot down by the highest court in the land — the “Sister Wives” push to legalize polygamy ruled dead in the water.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by the reality family, the order issued Monday morning. The Browns have been embroiled in a lengthy suit against the state of Utah, arguing that it’s historic ban on polygamy violated their religious freedom rights and their right to privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case means that the lower court’s decision stands.

In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a portion of the state ban, making it no longer a crime to live with multiple partners, and label it a marriage. The Utah Attorney General’s Office appealed the ruling, arguing that the Browns faced no threat of criminal prosecution. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver sided with the state of Utah.

The Brown family appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the 10th Circuit Court rejected their case in error. The state of Utah urged the court to reject the Browns’ push — stating in one argument that a condition of Utah’s statehood rests on the abandonment of the practice of polygamy.

According to Fox 13/Salt Lake City, some within the polygamist community are vowing that they will continue to fight the state of Utah, for decriminalization. 

Outspoken Utah polygamists, and authors of ‘Love Times Three,’ Joe, Alina, Vicky and Valerie Darger spoke out on Twitter, calling the court’s decision  an “injustice.”

This plural donkey has been beaten dead — but will Kody and the gang admit defeat and move on?

 

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I am a coastal girl who loves the outdoors, and writing about the sneaky and silly side of reality TV. My bio is short, but my snark is endless, and I love writing for the sharpest posters in the world. Follow me on Facebook

  • EvenKeeled

    Right is right and polygamy is wrong… so I don’t see that changing for them for a long long time.

  • Sandy Wood

    I am trying to interpret intentions here and hope someone will correct me if my thinking is muddled. As I see it, the Browns were trying to have polygamy decriminalized rather than legalized. If polygamy were legalized, then a father would be responsible for all children that may result from multiple marriages. If decriminalized, then they would be free to marry at will without necessarily accepting the burden of any children that may be the outcome of these marriages.
    The Browns and others of their ilk have been assured that it is not the intention of the courts to pursue action against polygamist couples who are of legal consenting age and living that lifestyle of their own free will.
    It seems to me that without a blanket restriction on polygamy there would be opportunities for the perverts that engage minor children and hold adult women against their will to slip by.
    I know that there are already laws to protect minor children, but if adult women held against their will felt protected by the courts to come forward, perhaps they could shine a light on the evil that is endemic in some of these cults.

    • LogicalLeopard

      I’ve never really understood the whole “minor children are at danger” thing with polygamy. I mean, how does that even translate? If a guy wants to marry more than one woman, he wants to marry more than one woman. If a guy wants to molest kids, they don’t have to get married at all for that. The same with “holding adult women against their will,” I mean, guys do that on a daily basis who aren’t even married to them.
      The polygamy statutes make absolutely NO sense, especially given that we have gay marriage in this country. The only drawback is that someone might marry more than one spouse without the other spouse knowing, but that’s pretty easy to fix. Just make the law that all spouses have to know about any other spouses and consent to it. And if that’s not done, they can suffer a legal penalty.

      • Sandy Wood

        Doesn’t the FLDS rationalize the molestation of minor children by considering them wives.

        • LogicalLeopard

          I have no idea what the FLDS believe. But we have laws addressing ages of consent to marriage that will still exist even if polygamy is realized. But thank you, perhaps that is why people associate polygamy with molestation, with whatever beliefs the FLDS either have or are alleged to have. That shouldn’t limit the law from being overturned, though.

          • sideof Sour Cream

            It is my understanding that FLDS tells girls that unless they marry they will go to hell. So in that way the girls are chosen to be married off at very young ages, and most of them go along with it, because they are more afraid of hell then they are of having to schtupp grandpa.

            Legalizing polygamy isn’t really the issue. I’m sure most Americans don’t REALLY care what freaks like the Browns want to do. (or it would have been stopped by now.) The issue is that they can’t afford the large families and the taxpayer foots the bill for them. For that reason alone legalization is probably unlikely unless our welfare system is overhauled to prevent the type of abuse already rampant in FLDS.

          • LogicalLeopard

            Well, but the thing is – polygamy is a lot bigger than FLDS. I don’t know a lot about them, but it seems the main issue – child marriage – still runs afoul of the law, and all of it is prosecutable now. As far as welfare, if they’re having large families without marriage or with marriage, it probably isn’t going to change much.
            But polygamy, or polyandry is a much broader issue. Muslims are permitted religiously to marry additional wives (up to 4) if they can support them. I’m sure some of them would welcome a polygamy law. Also, people who aren’t religious at all would appreciate it. You have some people who live with two other sexual partners right now, and they might like the choice of being able to solidify that into a family unit. The main thing with polygamy is that there’s really NO reason why it shouldn’t be legal.

          • sideof Sour Cream

            The key is “if they can support them”. With the political climate as it is right now, and Trump choosing the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future; I would be gobsmacked if any new laws that are likely to place additional strain on middle class taxpayers will be entertained let alone passed.

          • LogicalLeopard

            Well, It probably wont come in the way of a law, but a challenge to the law, like this one in Utah. Something that goes before the Supreme Court.
            As far as a strain on the middle class taxpayers, well, taxes don’t go up because more people go on welfare. Taxes go up when Congress orders it, or whatever local body is responsible in some cases. So, if they wanted to divert costs, all they would have to do is set family size limits. This might actually discourage people from getting married, just like welfare laws and public housing practices discouraged marriage among monogamous couples – it was better to stay unmarried and in separate residences so that the kids could get the maximum benefit.

          • sideof Sour Cream

            lol! good luck setting “family size limits”.

            Listen, I’m socially very liberal. I don’t care what anybody does in terms of sex, drugs, rock & roll :-), or who they do it with–as long as it’s among consenting adults. Just don’t expect me to pay for it in any way, shape or form.

          • LogicalLeopard

            Not family size limits as far as “this is how many kids you can have,” but family size limits as far as “this is how many kids your insurance will COVER.”
            As far as social liberality, I understand what you’re saying – you don’t care what anyone does, just as long as they consent and don’t want you to pay for it. But honestly, we’re all paying for each other in one way or another. But dollars should never stand in the way of human rights.

          • sideof Sour Cream

            lol, yes they should! You have NO RIGHT to my dollars. Especially for stupid decisions like having too many mistresses, whores, sex-partners, concubines, or children.
            You want lots of “rights”? Then you better makes lots of money. 🙂

          • LogicalLeopard

            But who would debate whether or not the costs associated with de-segregation of black people in this country was worth the cost? There are human rights where costs just aren’t discussed. Most recently, I noticed there wasn’t a lot of debate over, say, health insurance costs associated with gay marriage, because it would expand the number of people carried as spouses on insurance plans. But either way, returning back to the point – what is the difference if a non-married polygamous group has too many children and has to turn to welfare and a married polygamous group has too many children and has to turn to welfare? Either none, or the marriage will cut costs, because when you’re married, that affects your benefits.

          • sideof Sour Cream

            omg so now you are going to turn this into racism. lol I get it Troll.

            BLOCKED.

          • LogicalLeopard

            Racism? Uhm….nooooo, you mentioned about rights and money, so I gave an example of where people wouldn’t care about money at the expense of rights.

        • Jennymckitty

          I watched Evil Lives Here on ID last night. It was about Warren Jeffs and was told by his brother and a cousin. It was enlightening. Yes, there were under aged children molested by Jeffs…boys and girls. There were under aged marriages. The people were so isolated and brainwashed that they wouldn’t come forward. They grew up believing that Jeffs was a prophet and speaking out against him was akin to speaking out against God. Even if they came to their senses, they were trapped. If they defied Jeffs, they would be expelled. They would lose their families and their wives and daughters would be left behind to be used by Warren. The law enforcement is controlled by the church. The Feds finally got involved which is the only reason Jeffs is in prison today. He is still running his cult from behind bars.

    • BeachSpin

      The Brown’s argument is moot–go figure—because no one is going to arrest or prosecute any polygamist unless there is abuse going on. Utah reps said that decriminalization would thwart law officials’ freedom to investigate abuse going on in cults, and the rescue of child brides.

      • Sandy Wood

        That’s how I interpret it too.

  • LogicalLeopard

    Maybe SCOTUS doesn’t want to tackle it now, but it will eventually be tackled and passed. There really isn’t’ a legal reason NOT to allow polygamy at this point.

  • Oh Snarky Me

    Polygamists don’t want polygamy legalized because then they would lose all their government benefits. They want to continue to fly beneath the radar and collect all the bennies without the responsibility so they only want it decriminalized. Look at the Brown’s history with this. The mother’s don’t put Kody’s name on the birth certificate so they can claim poor single mother status with no father in the picture but then when they file for bankruptcy suddenly Meri and Kody have 8 kids. They hide behind the whole persecution potential when it’s all about money honey.

  • Snarky Snarkerton

    Maybe this news will be the end of Sister Wives. I read that the whole premise of the show was for this law suit. They wanted to go public, prove to the world how normal polygamy is and file a lawsuit to decriminalize polygamy. So far they failed on 2 of those point items!

    • malli

      nah, they’re in it for the $$. Haven’t u noticed that nobody seems to work on that show

      • sideof Sour Cream

        Yes. I think they didn’t take into account how much they would enjoy the fame and easy $$$.

  • Kate halle

    Well now they’ll have to come up something really juicy to keep on the TLC payroll – wifey #5? Look out Mindy you’re being groomed

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    Just a show. Gustavo Woltmann

  • Why is this happening to us?

    Since they claim their marriages to multiple partners are “spiritual”, what difference does it make to them if the court system doesn’t allow them to legally marry? I have to wonder if they only want their marriages legalized by the government so that all of the wives and children will be eligible for benefits. There is a greater potential for abuse if polygamy is legalized. I could care less about who they marry or how many spouses there are…I do, however, care about them defrauding the government for tax purposes.

    • sideof Sour Cream

      The only upside I see to legalizing it,is getting these dead-beat dads from all walks of life on the birth certificate. Have a kid with someone? Consider yourself married in terms of child support. Force the mother to name the father, or she gets cut off as well and the kid goes to foster care. Legalizing polygamy could have far reaching consequences for all the baby daddies and mommies out there.

      • Why is this happening to us?

        That’s true and would be an upside for sure. I didn’t realize that you don’t have to name the father on the birth certificate- I guess I never gave it much thought since I’m not a mother! Lol.

        • sideof Sour Cream

          Leaving the father’s name off the birth certificate often results in even MORE freebies from the govt.
          True story. 🙁

          • Why is this happening to us?

            Makes sense. Never thought about it that way, but I guess these plygs got it all figured out…smh..

    • LogicalLeopard

      Same difference as gay marriage – they want it recognized by the state, and enjoy whatever protections come with marriage. And it’s hard to argue why they shouldn’t be allowed to.
      As for benefits, I’m not sure how they can abuse the system more being married. If I have five children, and I’m not married to their mother, the mother is eligible for more benefits. But if I marry the mother, she’ll get less benefits, because they’re counting both of our incomes. So, actually, wouldn’t marriage rights cut down on that sort of thing? Because, married or not, they’re still going to get together and have kids. Maybe with marriage, they’d think twice about having extra kids.

  • malli

    whats next? Marrying your cat or dog? just sayin

    • sideof Sour Cream

      I could see marrying my dog, but my cat is a freakin’ Witch!

      Now I would have to not only pick up after myself, but scrape cat poop off the bathroom floor each morning? —not to mention the hairballs. NO THANKS. 😉

      • Sandy Wood

        LOL…nice segue sSC.

        • sideof Sour Cream

          he he har har…..thanks Sandy…lol…. 🙂 tee hee hee heeh