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Supreme Court Declines Polygamy Case


— February 26, 2007

The US Supreme Court Monday declined to consider the appeal by a Utah man with three wives who sought to overturn his bigamy conviction by citing the high court’s 2003 landmark ruling on gay rights.

The action lets stand a Utah Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s bigamy law even though it clashes with some residents’ sincerely held religious beliefs.

“There are literally thousands of religious people in Utah … who now have to be concerned to look over their shoulder that some day [state Attorney General] Mark Shurtleff and the state of Utah will come after them,” says Raymond Berry, one of the lawyers representing polygamist Rodney Holm. The ruling will raise concerns among religious fundamentalists in Utah that the state will step up its pressure against them, he adds. “They are kind of like turtles, they pull their heads in, they stay out of the public eye.” . . .

[M]r. Holm’s lawyers hoped to use the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling on gay rights as a means to challenge state laws against multiple marriage.

In that landmark case, called Lawrence v. Texas, the court invalidated Texas’ sodomy law, ruling that gay adult Texans, like all other adults, were entitled to intimate relations without government interference. In a fiery dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the court’s rejection of moral disapproval as a foundation for certain laws would open the door to legal challenges to state statutes banning same-sex marriage, prostitution, and bigamy, among others.

Details here from the Christian Science Monitor.


The US Supreme Court Monday declined to consider the appeal by a Utah man with three wives who sought to overturn his bigamy conviction by citing the high court’s 2003 landmark ruling on gay rights.

The action lets stand a Utah Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s bigamy law even though it clashes with some residents’ sincerely held religious beliefs.

“There are literally thousands of religious people in Utah … who now have to be concerned to look over their shoulder that some day [state Attorney General] Mark Shurtleff and the state of Utah will come after them,” says Raymond Berry, one of the lawyers representing polygamist Rodney Holm. The ruling will raise concerns among religious fundamentalists in Utah that the state will step up its pressure against them, he adds. “They are kind of like turtles, they pull their heads in, they stay out of the public eye.” . . .

[M]r. Holm’s lawyers hoped to use the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling on gay rights as a means to challenge state laws against multiple marriage.

In that landmark case, called Lawrence v. Texas, the court invalidated Texas’ sodomy law, ruling that gay adult Texans, like all other adults, were entitled to intimate relations without government interference. In a fiery dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the court’s rejection of moral disapproval as a foundation for certain laws would open the door to legal challenges to state statutes banning same-sex marriage, prostitution, and bigamy, among others.

Details here from the Christian Science Monitor.

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