Salt Lake City, UT, United States (4E) – A U.S. District Court judge in Utah has ruled that the state’s 1973 law against polygamy violates the constitution.
The ruling of Judge Clark Waddoups on Friday has the effect of decriminalizing cohabitation or having more than one wife or family. The ruling was issued in response to a 2011 lawsuit by the polygamous Brown family of Lehi. The family starred in the reality TV show “Sister Wives.”
Utah authorities investigated the family upon seeing them in the show forcing Kody Brown and his four wives to relocate to Nevada in 2010. The Browns then sought protection of their constitutional rights through the lawsuit.
The family clarified they are not seeking the legalization of polygamy.
A statement from the Browns released Friday and published in Deseretnews.com said, “While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs.”
Robyn Sullivan Brown, one of Kody Brown’s wives, tweeted she was thankful for the ruling.
The Brown’s lawyer, Jonathan Turley, said that with the ruling, the family will no longer fear investigation or the threat of losing their children to authorities. He added that “many families can openly integrate into society and not fear prosecution merely because of their family structure.”