31 October 2005

Theory and Practice in Utah

You can be pretty sure that Utah officials weren't all that serious about enforcing the anti-bigamy laws that have been on the books in that state since its formation when a man with three wives has been a judge in that state for the last twenty-five years.

Honestly, I don't stay up at night worrying about how polygamists are ruining my marriage. But, as practiced in Colorado City, Arizona and Hilsdale, Utah, there is little doubt that girls and young women are entering these marriages under duress. Once they have children, the women face huge barriers to leaving the relationships. This is a problem, and dramatically reduces my sympathy for their case, even if, in theory, polygamy isn't necessarily wrong in and of itself. (In fairness, it does not appear that these issues are necessarily pertinent to this particular judge).

Also, if Utah is going to make bigamy illegal, a felony indeed, it shouldn't look the other way at judges who violate the law. Tolerating a judge's open disregard for the laws on the books, without a judicial determination that those laws are invalid, does not promote the rule of law.


Sotosoroto said...

"Undress duress"? Freudian slip, I suppose? (-;

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Damn, I hate it when I do that.