Richard Piatt ReportingShould Polygamist relationships be spelled out as undesirable when the State is 'Defining Marriage'? That's the debate the Utah Senators found themselves in before they passed a Recognition of Marriage bill onto the House today.
This bill was meant to send a message about same-sex marriages in Utah. But Senate lawmakers clearly found it unnecessary and undesirable to touch polygamy along the way. When it comes to defining marriage, Senator Ed Mayne wanted to spell out "one man, one woman"--addressing polygamists who he says could circumvent the 'A man and A woman' in the statute.
Sen. Ed Mayne, (D) West Valley City: "A vote against this amendment is playing into and supporting polygamy in the state of Utah which is reprehensible, not acceptable."
There was no debate about homosexual unions there. Instead, Republican Senators rejected Mayne's attempt to--in their words--confuse the issue.
Sen. John Valentine, (R) Orem: "If it passes, it is a man and a man which equals one man and one woman. We're not trying to foster polygamy here."
Sen. Chris Buttars, (R) West Jordan: "I am not willing to accept this amendment and I ask that you vote it down."
Bill sponsor Chris Buttars had already re-written the bill to address constitutional concerns raised in committee. Democrats mostly voted for what they called a stronger anti-polygamy stance.
Sen. Gene Davis, (D) Salt Lake City: "If we're making a strong statement about marriage in the state of Utah, then let's make it as strong as we can."
But the language didn't change and the Recognition of Marriage bill sailed through. It appears to have support in both the House and with the Governor. Reserving specific comment today, Governor Walker did indicate her overall view on the topic.
Governor Olene Walker: "On marriage, I'm committed to a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage contract."
The bill now goes to a House committee, possibly as early as next week.