Sunday, March 12, 2017

Utah Legislature Passes Changes to Polygamy Ban

As reported by AP and CNN, the state legislature late last night gave last minute final passage to HB 99 (full text) amending the state's bigamy law.  It is unclear whether Gov. Gary Herbert will sign the bill.  The bill narrows the definition of bigamy, but increases the penalties if the person prosecuted is also convicted of fraud, abuse or trafficking.  The bill required purporting to marry and cohabiting where either party is already married for a person to be guilty of bigamy.  Current law requires only one of those. Reactions to the law vary.  Sponsors say the change is necessary to protect against constitutional challenges and to focus on those plural marriages which are most problematic.  Opponents say the bill will drive polygamy even further underground.