Brazil Approves Civil Union For Three People

The BBC and Huffington Post UK are reporting that a civil union involving three people has been granted in Brazil. Some countries have civil unions that are limited to two people, prevent the involvement of people who are married, or are limited to same-sex partnerships. The cases is Brazil involves a man and two women, and it is said that there is nothing in the law in Brazil to limit the civil partnership to 2 individuals.

Further commentary here


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Kody Brown and Sister Wives WILL have their day in court.

Judge Clark Waddoups has turned down the motion to dismiss filed by Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman. This was an attempt to declare the issue moot because Buhman had at the last minute adopted a policy of not prosecuting people under the bigamy law unless there was some form of abuse. Judge Waddoups was not impressed by the lateness and fundamentally temporary nature of this change of heart.

This paves the way for a United States District Court to consider for the first time in 120 years whether the general restriction of the practice of polygamy by the criminal law is in itself unconstitutional. As Waddoups had to make a promise not to prosecute polygamy on its own, and as the Governor and Attorney General of Utah had already got out of the case by making such a promise, polygamy on its own is effectively not capable of prosecution in Utah at the moment, and polygamy prosecutions may be outlawed as a result of the case.

Of course, whoever wins, there are likely to be appeals to the 10th Circuit, and ultimately to the US Supreme Court, so this will take years, but the journey there has definitely now begun.


Here is Brown Family Attorney and Professor of Constitutional Law Jonathan Turley on the latest judgement

Here is the Judgement itself.

Here is the Salt Lake Tribune's coverage.


Posted in Brown Family v Utah, Legal issues, Media coverage of polygamy, Sister Wives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sister Wives in court – media coverage of latest hearing

Kody and Co. went back to court (via their lawyers) recently, as the Utah County Attorney sought to have the case against him dismissed. The Brown's contend that the Attorney should be prevented from prosecuting them for polygamy in order to avoid a breach of their constitutional rights. The Attorney says he shouldn't be stopped, as he has now decided not to prosecute, though it should be noted that he only decided not to prosecute once other people who had decided not to prosecute were released from the case. The case has in effect become a contest between an authority with the current policy that it will not prosecute polygamists who are not being prosecuted for other offences, and a family who believe that the authority needs to be told it can not prosecute polygamy, so that it is down to predictable law and not changeable policy. Judge Waddoups has to decide whether there is sufficient public interest in the difference for the case to continue.

It is worth considering that while families still have the stigma and threat of prosecution, it is now openly acknowledged that most will never be prosecuted. For most, this is decriminalisation of polygamy in all but name.

Here are links of media coverage of this and other relevant stories, straight from Google:-

The latest in “Sister Wives” legal docs
Salt Lake Tribune (blog)
Here are the latest court documents filed in the case, including a personal declaration from Kody Brown, the patriarch of thepolygamous clan. For background, here's the motion from May where prosecutors said they won't prosecute the Browns, and to

Polygamous family on TV's 'Sisters Wives' challenges Utah bigamy law
Toronto Star
The Browns say they practice polygamy as part of their religious beliefs. And like most polygamists, Brown only has a valid marriage license with his first wife. He married the other three in religious ceremonies. They consider themselves “spiritually

Sister Wives v. Utah: A Lifetime Lawsuit
Reality Tea (blog)
The law prohibits people from having more than one legitimate marriage license (which isn't odd, as polygamy laws go), but it also makes it illegal for someone to hold out as having multiple spouses, even without marriage licenses. The statute also

Stars Of 'Sister Wives' Sue Utah, Claim Polygamy Law Is Unconstitutional
The Browns of TLC's Sister Wives. Kody Brown and his four wives, the stars of TLC's reality TV show Sister Wives have sued the state of Utah and the county they fled from in an attempt to overturn the state's ban onpolygamy. For tens of thousands of

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Polygamy Raises Its Profile in America
Polygamy is one of the few practices that still evokes genuine disgust in people. It's a watchword for ignorance, sexual depredation, oppression of women and weird culty outfits. But spurred on by the same-sex marriage debate and by more sympathetic

Judge seeks explanation for Utah's polygamy policy
Salt Lake Tribune (blog)
At the Sister Wives hearing today (story here), U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups seemed to be picking apart Utah's unique approach polygamy, which generally boils down to this: Bigamy is a felony, and it should stay that way. But if you're a

Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Kramer
Slate Magazine
The polygamous stars of the reality television series Sister Wives headed to court on Wednesday to challenge Utah's ban on plural marriage. Kody Brown is legally married to his first wife, Meri, but his three other relationships are spiritual marriages

Judge seems reluctant to toss 'Sister Wives' lawsuit
Fox 13 Now – Salt Lake City
On Wednesday, the Utah Attorney General's Office asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit claiming the Utah County Attorney has adopted a policy to not prosecute polygamy alone. The state argued the Brown's lawsuit is “moot,” because the polygamous family

'Sister Wives' Family Sues Utah Over Bigamy Law
The Daily Blabber from iVillage
The Brown family was forced to flee to Nevada after they discovered prior to the 2010 debut of Sister Wives that Utah police were investigating Kody and his wives for polygamy. They now live in Las Vegas, as is documented by the show, but are sick of

Utah TV polygamists in court over lawsuit
Sun News Network
Kody Brown and his four wives, stars of the TLC show Sister Wives, have challenged anti-polygamy laws in Utah, where people can face up to five years in prison for the felony, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. But the state says the lawsuit should be

'Sister Wives' Family Challenges Utah Bigamy Law
ABC News
The case could potentially decriminalize a way of life for tens of thousands of Mormon fundamentalists practicing polygamy, most of whom live in Utah. The state, meanwhile, has publicly said it won't prosecute consenting adult polygamists unless there

Reality TV's 'Sister Wives' polygamous family challenges Utah bigamy law as
Washington Post
SALT LAKE CITY — Kody Brown and his four wives just want to live like any other family — free from the threat of being tossed in prison. But in Utah, just claiming to have more than one wife is a third-degree felony punishable by a sentence of up to

'Sister Wives' family challenges Utah bigamy law
KFOX El Paso
A Utah county attorney says he will not pursue criminal charges against this polygamous family made famous by a reality TV show. Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman says he has closed the case against Brown and his four wives. (AP Photo/TLC, Bryant

Judge eyes state attorneys with suspicion in 'Sister Wives' hearing
Salt Lake Tribune
A federal judge on Wednesday grilled a state attorney pushing for dismissal of a lawsuit filed by reality TV show stars that could decriminalize polygamy in Utah. Prosecutors say the “Sister Wives” case should be dismissed because they won't file

TV's 'Sister Wives' family challenges Utah bigamy law as unconstitutional
Brandon Sun
The polygamous family, stars of the U.S. television show “Sister Wives,” which airs on TLC, has sued Utah and the county they fled from, hoping to persuade a federal judge to overturn the state's bigamy law as unconstitutional. A hearing is Wednesday.

'Sister Wives' Lawsuit: Kody Brown And Family Suing Utah Over Bigamy Law
Huffington Post
Polygamy “opens up a whole can of legal worms that is not really opened with the same sex marriage issue,” Schacter said, noting polygamy throughout history has been associated with underage marriages and child sex abuse. Regardless of whether there

High court cites polygamy law in blocking same-sex divorce
Two Massachusetts men can't get divorced because they were never legally married in the first place due to one man's pre-existing Vermont civil union with another partner, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday. Todd J. Elia-Warnken


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I am in Salt Lake City today for the hearing on the government’s second motion to dismiss the challenge to the state’s bigamy law by the Brown family — the cast of TLC’s Sister Wives program. As always in dealing with my own cases, I have to be circumspect in any public comments on the case. [Update: The court has promised a decision soon on whether it will proceed to rule on the constitutionality of the state law]

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