Supreme Court Questions Utah Bigamy Law

Supreme Court Questions Utah Bigamy Law

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah Supreme Court justices pounded state attorneys with questions today in a convicted polygamist's appeal, suggesting at least some doubt over the state's 100-year-plus ban on plural marriage.

Rodney Holm, a former police officer in the polygamous community of Hildale, was convicted of bigamy and illegal sex with a teenage girl that he had taken as a third wife. His lawyer, Rodney Parker, argued today that polygamy is essential to Holm's religion, and barring him from practicing it violates his First Amendment rights.

Besides simply banning bigamy, as most states do, Utah law allows prosecutors to file bigamy charges when people are spiritually, but not legally, married and cohabitating.

Parker said that makes the law unconstitutionally vague, because it could subject roommates to criminal prosecution.

But prosecutors say allowing bigamy denigrates the institution of marriage.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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