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Polygamy ban in Utah declared unconstitutional by fed. judge
SALT LAKE CITY (BP) -- A federal court has struck down a vital section of Utah's anti-polygamy law,"[W]hen marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing."lending credence to arguments by defenders of marriage that the reshaping of the institution would not end with legalizing same-sex unions.
–- Russell D. Moore
Clark Waddoups, a judge in the U.S. District Court of Utah, invalidated a portion of the state law that prohibits bigamy, essentially decriminalizing polygamy in the process. In a 91-page opinion released Dec. 13, the federal judge ruled as unconstitutional a section prohibiting a married person from cohabiting with someone who is not his or her spouse.
In effect, Waddoups legalized polygamy as it is practiced in Utah primarily by members of fundamentalist spinoffs of the Mormon religion. Such polygamous households typically do not have multiple marriage licenses but treat all relationships between a man and the women with whom he lives as marriages. Waddoups ruled the cohabitation section of Utah's anti-polygamy law violated the free religious exercise clause of the United States Constitution's First Amendment and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Kody Brown and his four wives, who are featured in the television reality show "Sister Wives" on TLC. Brown and only one of his wives have a marriage license. They are members of the Apostolic United Brethren, which believes polygamy is "a core religious practice," according to Waddoups' opinion.
Defenders of the biblical and historic view of marriage said the decision undermines the institution and provides more evidence that its redefinition will be more expansive than just incorporating same-sex relationships.
"Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing," Russell D. Moore said in a statement released Dec. 14. Moore is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
"This is what happens when marriage becomes about the emotional and sexual wants of adults, divorced from the needs of children for a mother and a father committed to each other for life," Moore said. "Polygamy was outlawed in this country because it was demonstrated, again and again, to hurt women and children."
R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a Monday (Dec. 16) blog post, "In one sense, the decision was almost inevitable, given the trajectory of both the culture and the federal courts. On the other hand, the sheer shock of the decision serves as an alarm: marriage is being utterly redefined before our eyes, and in the span of a single generation.
Auburn homecoming queen shows God's 'light'
AUBURN, Ala. (BP) -- Auburn University 2013 homecoming queen Molly Anne Dutton,adopted as an infant after her birth mother was given an ultimatum to abort her, is using her platform to promote the light of God.
'Resilient' Cuban churches surprise IMB leader
HAVANA, Cuba (BP) -- The recent storm took everyone by surprise.It turned streets in Havana, Cuba, into rivers, lifting manhole covers on water bubbling from drainage pipes unable to contain the surge racing to the sea. In Vueltas, 180 miles to the east, rural roads turned to mush, making it impossible to travel from surrounding villages into the city for the constitution of nine new churches. Read More
Darwinists perplexed by DNA found in Spain
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- The discovery of DNA evidence in a cave in Spain is incongruent with current theories of human evolution, according to a report based on interviews with believers in Darwinian evolution in The New York Times.
BP Ledger, Dec. 16 edition
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Ouachita Baptist University
World Congress of Families
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
FIRST-PERSON: At Christmas, give what matters
Columnist Judy Woodward Bates urges people to forgo giving useless items to people whose needs already are met and instead give to those who could really use the help. Read More