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Plural marriage supporters find hope in this week's court rulings

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:24am



SALT LAKE CITY — Supporters of plural marriage say they've been paying very close attention to Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings over same-sex marriage. They believe the decisions may have opened the door for their cause.

There are glaring differences between same-sex marriage and plural marriage, however. While gay rights advocates push to have same-sex marriages legally recognized, plural marriage advocates say they want the practice of plural marriage to be decriminalized.

Principal Rights Coalition representative Anne Wild said the decision on California's Proposition 8 may get the ball rolling. She said the decision will spark more discussion of how to define marriage.

"I think it opens the door a little bit further for people to recognize that we can form our families as consenting adults and should be able to do that without any criticism or ridicule from outside the culture," Wild said.

She knows the high court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act won't have any immediate effect on Utah, at all. The portion of the act that was shot down prohibited same-sex couples from getting legal protections on a federal level, and it only applies to states where same-sex marriage is legal.

If polygamy is ever decriminalized, however, Wild wonders if the federal government would prohibit plural marriage families from collecting benefits.

"Does it also apply in a broader sense to a man who wants to take more than one wife"? she asked.

Wild said all she and other supporters can do is watch and see how broadly these legal decisions are applied.

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