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Polygamist Families Seek Legal Right to Marry in Utah

Three Is Enough: Polygamist Families Want Right to Marry(s)

The third season of Big Love ended with a bang (or a gasp?) Sunday, so we'll have to follow real-life polygamists until next season. Good thing there's some who want to be seen and heard, saying things like Jesus had many wives. Maybe he did?

Anne Wilde, a polygamist widow, is leading the Principle Voices campaign to legalize, or at least decriminalize, plural marriage in Utah. She showed BBC her basement/publishing house filled with books she and her husband published, including their bestseller, Jesus Was Married, which shows Jesus was married and married and married.

She led dozens of polygamists to the square outside the Utah State Legislature building to lobby for plural marriage. While it's felony in Utah, and every other state, there are too many people (nearly 40,000 just in Utah) to prosecute it. In fact, Anne and self-identified polygamists talked congenially to Utah's attorney general that day. His stance? As long there are no child marriages or pedophilia accusations, he'll let them be.

One openly polygamist family, which couldn't be more like Big Love's Hendricksons and less like the stereotypical prairie-garbed families, let BBC into their home. To find out what their lives are like,


Kody Brown, husband of three and father of 12, lives in a house divided into three apartments. While his teenage daughters have mixed feelings about entering plural marriage, he says his own is working out well. "Usually whoever knows what they want," he said, "can get it." Imagine that's so when there's three wives who give!

Check out a video of the family, sans the second and third wives, at home on BBC.


Join The Conversation
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
You beat me to it Mich. The LDS church is actually very AGAINST polygamy as they believe it makes them look bad.
zeze zeze 8 years
Thanks for clearing that up Mich, I was a little mixed up on that too.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
"If Mormans are pushing for "marriage rights" for polygamists, shouldn't they back down on the whole anti gay marriage, prop 8 thing?" You're mixing things up here. The LDS church (which is by far the largest section of Mormonism) does not practice polygamy. They are the ones who fought for Proposition 8. There are other branches of Mormonism that practice polygamy, but as far as I know they weren't hugely involved in donating money/fighting for Prop 8.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Umm they should definately have children if they so choose, Big Love is tv and is dramatized. While I"m sure there is "drama" in a polygamist home whos to say there is more of less in a "traditional home"/home that is largely acceptable. There are people who grow up with half sisters/ more than one mom figure who aren't in polygamist families and people don't put laws on that. It's a double standard and it would seem like it the man was "married" do all the women that the household would be just as stable if not more than a single parent household where you see your dad and your half brother/sister on the weekends!
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Witout even touching the religious aspect of this as long as adults aren't sleeping with/marrying children I believe adults should be able to marry whoever they wish. If a persons lifestyle affords them the luxury of having a multi spouse household then go for it. It's not for me, but who am I to say what the next person should do.
zeze zeze 8 years
"Not trying to pick a fight, but that statement is shaky at best. Especially if someone says, "I believe it's ok for me to marry a 12 year old." Or "God wants me to marry my step-child." " I was referring to consenting adults - some beliefs are obviously outweighed by other concerns. Imagine a religion that required child-sacrifice on a special occasion, this would not be ok regardless of religious freedom. And 4 adults who all want to be married does not pose these concerns. The tax issue can be dealt with in a way where no person can claim multiple marriage deductions - therefore you have the right to marry, but you do not get added benefits then people in monogamous marriages.
katejlogan katejlogan 8 years
If Mormans are pushing for "marriage rights" for polygamists, shouldn't they back down on the whole anti gay marriage, prop 8 thing?
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
"I can't see why they should be prohibited from marrying according to their beliefs." Not trying to pick a fight, but that statement is shaky at best. Especially if someone says, "I believe it's ok for me to marry a 12 year old." Or "God wants me to marry my step-child." I dunno. I don't like the idea of plural marriages, even if it's not gender specific. Would the people in these marriages get more back in taxes, or be able to claim benefits for their multiple spouses? Kscincotta is right; this is way more legally complicated than gay marriage, with many people's safety at stake. It could easily be taken advantage of as well... An illegal immigrant sympathizer could take multiple illegals as spouses to gain their citizenship, how would we monitor these multiple marriages to make sure that's what they really are?
zeze zeze 8 years
I'm sure there is some way to make it fair on the legal front, so that people who believe in polygamy don't get an advantage - other than that I can't see why they should be prohibited from marrying according to their beliefs.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I was thinking that too Kscincotta and Mich
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Kscincotta said exactly what I was thinking. I'm not against trying to make it work, but there needs to be a lot of planning done to avoid any sticky situations.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 8 years
This will just be a legal headache for the government, and I think it has enough to deal with right now.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I love how people change history to suit their lifestyles.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
While I very much support the idea that two consenting adults should be able to marry whoever they want, I do question the confusion this could bring about when it comes to taxes. How many marriages can one person claim? Also, there could be serious legal issues regarding power of attorney if multiple wives try to claim this and then disagree. I just think the legal issues here make this a little more complicated then say, legalizing gay marriage.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
There is no way to be sure that no children are born of a marriage. We can't force people to not pro create. I agree that it is unfortunate for children to grow up in that evnironment with many different mothers and half siblings. But this is all they know. So to them it is not strange. The damaging part comes in when they force the 14 year olds and sometimes younger to marry.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
Polygamy was started within the Mormon religion because there were many women in the church and not as many men. The women needed "protection". As the religion grew there were more and more men, and the women needed less protection so the practice ended. The Mormon church no longer supports polygamy. Now, Polygamy as portrayed in Big Love by the Henrickson family, while confusing, shows what it was INTENDED to be by the church when it was recognized. However, look at the confusion it causes for the kids even in the NORMAL form. Then you take into account what Roman Grant is doing in his "compound" and it shows you the reasons it had to be outlawed. I agree with Tiabia. If there were a way to be sure that no children were coerced into marriage, no children born of the marriage and no pedophilia was occurring, I would see no problem with it. However, because (as we know all too well) there will always be those that try to use the "loophole", I don't think that legalizing it is the right way to go.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I don't see a problem with it as long as all of the parties are willing, consenting adults.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
I agree too tia. If this is what they want let them do it but honestly I can't imagine sharing my man with two or four other women....
tiabia tiabia 8 years
I am in agreeance with the governor. As long there are no child marriages, no pedophilia and no coerced marriages, I have no problems with polygamy. I do wonder if it can be a two way street. Where women are also allowed to take on multiple husbands.
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