Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Magistrate Holds Plaintiffs Lack Standing To Challenge Montana's Polygamy Ban

In Collier v. Fox, (D MT, Dec. 8, 2015), a Montana federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a lawsuit asserting a pre-enforcement challenge to the state's bigamy statutes.  The suit was filed after a county clerk refused to issue a marriage license for Christine Collier Parkinson to legally marry Nathan Collier who is already legally married to Victoria Collier.  In the letter denying the license, the county clerk told the applicants that  obtaining a second marriage license would be considered bigamy.  However the letter did not explicitly threaten prosecution.  The court concluded that plaintiffs lack standing to bring the challenge because they have not been threatened with prosecution.  Plaintiffs say that the state might use its common law marriage statute to claim that the plaintiffs are already in violation.  The court said, however, that there is no history of prosecution of polygamists under this theory. Life Site News reports on the decision.