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Friday, July 15, 2011
US BIGAMY, UTAH's MIDDLE AGE PRACTICE: Solid Challenge to Utah's Law!
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By JONNY BONNER / http://www.courthousenews.com / Thursday, July 14, 2011.
SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - The stars of the "reality" TV show "Sister Wives" want to return to Utah, and have challenged the state's bigamy law in Federal Court. Kody Brown is married to just one of his four "wives" and says Utah cannot prosecute them "solely because they call themselves a family in the eyes of their church" and live as a "plural family."
Brown and his so-called sister wives - Meri, Janelle and Christine Brown, and Robyn Sullivan - are represented by Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Kody Brown is married only to Meri. They claim Utah's bigamy law, which chased them to Nevada in January violates the First and 14th Amendments.
Brown uprooted his family, which includes 16 children and stepchildren, from Lehi, Utah to a Las Vegas suburb after their show on the TLC network made their family situation plain to see.
Brown says he was "civilly married" to Meri Brown and "spiritually married" to the other three women. "In January 2010, he and the co-plaintiffs fled Utah for fear that Utah law enforcement officials would prosecute them under the state's criminal bigamy stature for maintaining a plural family," the complaint states.
The move was far from ideal, the family says, and they're ready to return to the Beehive State. They say they want to rejoin relatives and the fundamentalist Apostolic United Brethren Church, a Mormon offshoot based in Salt Lake City.
"While they would like to return to Utah, the Browns fear that they will be arrested and separated from their children if they do so," according to the complaint.