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Civil Rights Lawyer Challenges Utah’s Polygamy Ban


— January 12, 2004

A civil rights attorney challenged Utah’s ban on polygamy Monday, citing a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas sodomy law.

The lawsuit says Salt Lake County clerks refused a marriage license to a couple because the man was already married to another woman, who had consented to the additional marriage.

In denying the marriage license, the county violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to practice their religion, attorney Brian Barnard said in the complaint.

The suit said polygamy is the plaintiffs’ “sincere and deeply held religious tenet.” The complaint does not say what religion the plaintiffs observe.

The suit argues that the Supreme Court protected defendants’ privacy in intimate matters when it struck down laws criminalizing gay sex last June.

Details from the AP here.


A civil rights attorney challenged Utah’s ban on polygamy Monday, citing a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas sodomy law.

The lawsuit says Salt Lake County clerks refused a marriage license to a couple because the man was already married to another woman, who had consented to the additional marriage.

In denying the marriage license, the county violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to practice their religion, attorney Brian Barnard said in the complaint.

The suit said polygamy is the plaintiffs’ “sincere and deeply held religious tenet.” The complaint does not say what religion the plaintiffs observe.

The suit argues that the Supreme Court protected defendants’ privacy in intimate matters when it struck down laws criminalizing gay sex last June.

Details from the AP here.

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