‘Sister Wives’ appeal polygamy ruling to US Supreme Court

Source: Associated Press

By BRADY McCOMBS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A polygamous family from TV’s “Sister Wives” filed a request Monday for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case for legalizing polygamy.

Kody Brown and his four wives want the high court to review an appeal court’s decision that upheld a unique provision of Utah’s polygamy law that bans cohabitation with other partners even if the man is legally married to just one woman.

The ruling overturned a previous legal victory for the Browns in which a lower court ruled the law violated polygamists’ right to privacy and religious freedom.

The appeals court decided in April that the Browns can’t sue because they weren’t charged under the Utah law. It didn’t consider the constitutional issues.

Like most polygamous families, Brown is legally married to one wife and “spiritually married” to the others.

Utah prosecutors say they generally leave polygamists alone but need the ban to pursue polygamists for other crimes such as underage marriage and sexual assault.

The Browns took the case to the nation’s highest court after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to reconsider it.

They face long odds. In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has heard no more than 1 percent of the 7,500-plus cases appealed annually.

The family’s attorney, Jonathan Turley, said in a statement the appeals court ruling curtailed the right for plural families to be heard in federal court.

“This has been an extended and difficult struggle for the Brown family but they have never wavered in their commitment to defending the important principles of religious freedom in this case,” Turley said. “Utah is a state that was founded by courageous citizens seeking these very protections from government abuse and religious inequality. This lawsuit is true to the original dream of those seeking freedom in Utah.”

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