DECRIMINALIZATION OF POLYGAMY BILL APPROVED BY UTAH SENATE COMMITTEE

A bill to decriminalize polygamy earns a unanimous approval from Utah Senate committee.  The bill SB102 was sponsored by Spanish Fork Republican Sen. Deidre Henderson, who argued to her Senate colleagues that the state’s current law classifying polygamy as a felony is unenforceable absent other crimes.

And rather than eliminate polygamy, Henderson said, the state’s laws have created “a full-blown human rights crisis” in which victims of abuse and fraud are afraid to come forward, and in which otherwise law-abiding citizens are labeled as criminals.

“The people that I have spoken with long to feel part of society,” Henderson said. “They are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. They feel like Utah has legalized prejudice against them. They want to be honest people, but feel like they have to lie or teach their children to lie about their families in order to stay safe.”

But several members of the public, including former polygamists, spoke against SB102 during Monday’s hearing.

Angela Kelly, Sound Choices Coalition director, compared polygamy to organized crime and slavery. To ease the criminal penalties, she said, would encourage more people to live that way.
“To bring it down to an infraction, you’re essentially saying this is an OK lifestyle,” Kelly said. “And it might be for 10 people, but we’re talking about society as a whole.”

Angela Kelly, Sound Choices Coalition director, compared polygamy to organized crime and slavery. To ease the criminal penalties, she said, would encourage more people to live that way.
If SB102 becomes law, polygamy among consenting adults would be reduced to an infraction, which is a level below many traffic offenses. Infractions in Utah carry no jail time. Punishments can be fines of up to $750 and community service.

The bill will now move to the full Senate.

For additional information please visit our friends at The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Bad Wolf
Bad Wolf
3 years ago

How is same sex marriage legal and polygamy is not? Remember the consenting adults argument?