The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to hear a case that may greatly effect a reality TV star with multiple wives. On January 19th the Supreme Court will go to conference and decided whether or not to hear their first polygamy case in over 100 years. The case is being brought by Kody Brown and his four wives, the stars of the popular TLC show “Sister Wives”.
Should the Supreme Court choose to hear Brown v. Buhman, there is the possibility of a dramatic change coming to marriage laws. The case is coming out of Utah, which adds an interesting history because Utah was required to ban the practice of polygamy in order to be admitted into the Union as a state. While you cannot be legally married to multiple people in the state of Utah, it is a crime to live together and purport to be married to multiple people as a result of Utah’s anti-bigamy laws.
So the question of the case is not whether someone can legally marry multiple individuals, but whether or not you can constitutionally make it a crime for someone to carry on as if they are married to multiple individuals. The Brown family is making the case that their lifestyle should be protected under the First Amendment right to free religion and their right to privacy.
The District Court struct down the portion of the Utah law that made it illegal to live together and purport to be married, but that decision was then overturned by the 10th Circuit Court. Now the Supreme Court will have to decided whether or not they are going to have this case presented before them.
It is doubtful that Court would take the massive step to legalize polygamy nationwide, but it is possible for them to strike this law down, so people can carry on as if they were married to multiple folks, despite not having those marriages recognized by the government.
Regardless, this is a case that could make for some very entertaining legal arguments.