It’s been a tough period for the stars of Sister Wives, and their fight for plural marriage. Meri Brown publicly admitting that she engaged in an online affair with a “catfish” exposed cracks in the harmonious picture of multiplied wedded bliss, and the Utah Attorney General’s office recently hit a Brown hot button.
In his latest filing, the Attorney General points to cases like Warren Jeffs, in the argument to keep polygamy illegal. The Fundamentalist LDS Church leader was cited in a filing before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as an example of “harms” associated with polygamy. The court filing, written by Utah Federal Solicitor, Parker Douglas, states,
“That is what the boots on the ground fact of bigamy and polygamy can look like, and it is one reason the irrevocable ordinance recognized as perfectly constitutional in Reynolds and Potter remains fully supportable and in conformity with the Constitution today,” citing two cases that declared polygamy illegal.
The Browns are suing the state of Utah, claiming that the ban on polygamy violates their religious freedom rights. In 2013, a judge struck down a portion of Utah’s polygamy ban, practically in unison with another federal judge striking down Utah’s ban on same sex marriage. The decision decriminalizes plural marriages, but the judge has maintained that multiple marriage licenses will not be issued to polygamist families.
Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Utah-based FLDS Church, is serving a life plus 20-year sentence, in a Texas prison for child sex assault, stemming from “marriages” with minors. The Browns differ from the Jeffs scenario, because Kody Brown “married” his four wives as adults. The Browns are involved in a vaguely defined polygamous church, which viewers have witnessed in the Brown homes, involving no one but their “family.” Arguments in the “Sister Wives” case are expected to be heard in Denver’s 10th Circuit Court, as early as next year. If the Court sides with the Browns, the case could potentially wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Browns have consciously worked to distance themselves from any comparison to Jeffs on their TLC show, often citing vast differences in how they practice plural marriage. The Browns are being categorized with a cult…and that has to sting.