Yesterday afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed the decision of Brown vs. Buhman, which had struck down the cohabitation provision of the Utah polygamy law. They ruled that the lower court should have dismissed the case, while they failed to address any constitutional issues or violations.
Jonathan Turley, lead counsel for the Brown Family, respectfully disagrees with the court decision and intends to appeal, as he believes that the underlying rights of religious freedom and free speech are too great to abandon after prevailing in the lower court.
Perhaps the reason behind the higher court’s ruling is as simple as what one has suggested:
My sense is that the panel looked for a reason to avoid handling a hot potato.
We agree with the assessment of another who wrote,
Thinking strategically … if [the state of Utah] had lost, the state might not have appealed, and the decision would only apply to the 10th circuit; but because the Browns lost, they can choose to appeal to the Supreme Court, and thus have a chance to have the law struck nationwide.
It was Justice Harry Blackmun, addressing another issue, who once wrote in his dissent from the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick:
That certain … religious groups condemn … behavior … gives the State no license to impose their judgments on the entire citizenry. The legitimacy of secular legislation depends, instead, on whether the State can advance some justification for its law beyond its conformity to religious doctrine.
Listen to these adapted comments related to this issue:
What’s the difference between (1) marriage, (2) serial marriage, (3) cohabitation, (4) serial cohabitation, (5) friends with benefits (6) one night stands and (7) plural marriage?
6 are legal in many states.
In contrast, another observes:
Pop culture hates polygyny for the same reasons they like same-sex marriage: [our culture] is anti-family and anti-progeny. Polygynists stand against modern values.