A group of state attorneys in Utah are defending the state’s anti-polygamy laws, stating that the laws protect women and children from abuse:
The Utah Attorney General is appealing a ruling striking down key provisions of the law in the case of Kody Brown and his four wives, stars of the reality TV show "Sister Wives." The state says in newly filed court documents that monogamous marriage is an important social unit and court rulings dating back to 1878 have upheld laws against polygamy.
"The United States Constitution does not protect the practice of polygamy as a fundamental right," state attorney Parker Douglas wrote.
Utah is appealing a 2013 ruling that struck down key provisions of the state's anti-polygamy law.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups decided that a provision of the state law forbidding cohabitation violated the polygamous Brown family's freedom of religion.
But Utah contends that some religious practices can be outlawed, and polygamy should be one of them, according to documents filed Friday before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The state argues the practice can be associated with crimes like sexual assault, statutory rape and exploitation of government benefits. Outlawing it helps investigators gather evidence and strengthens cases against abusers, court documents say.
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