'Sister Wives' family wins case as polygamy ban ruled unconstitutional

sister-wives

Image Credit: Bryant Livingston/AP

Kody Brown and his four wives are best known for starring on TLC’s Sister Wives, but the family has also been battling a long-standing legal case. Yesterday, the Browns’ attorney, Jonathan Turley, announced that the final decision of United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups came down in favor of the Brown family.

As Turley wrote on his blog, “Previously, Judge Waddoups handed down an historic ruling striking down key portions of the Utah polygamy law as unconstitutional. Only one count remained: the Section 1983 claim that state officials (notably prosecutor Jeffrey R. Buhman) violated the constitutional rights of the Brown family in years of criminal investigation and public accusations. He has now ruled for the Browns in what is now a clear sweep on all counts.”

Essentially, the Browns, who had previously had to leave their home in Utah, can now be both plural and legal in the state. “The Court struck down the provision as violating both the free exercise clause of the first amendment as well as the due process clause,” Turley wrote. “The court specifically struck down language criminalizing cohabitation—the provision that is used to prosecute polygamists.”

And in regards to the Attorney General potentially appealing the case, Turley said, “We are prepared to defend this and the prior ruling in Denver, Colorado before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.”

Kody Brown issued the following statement on behalf of his family:

“The entire Brown family is gratified and thankful for this final ruling from Judge Waddoups. The decision brings closure for our family and further reaffirms the right of all families to be free from government abuse. While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our religious beliefs. Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs. We hope that Attorney General Reyes will see this as a victory of us all in defending the freedom of religion and other rights in our precious Constitution. We want to particularly thank our lead counsel Professor Jonathan Turley who represented us through the criminal investigation and then led the fight against this law to reach this historic decision. We also want to thank the team of lawyers and students from George Washington, including our local counsel Adam Alba. We are so honored and blessed to have been able to serve as the vehicle for this milestone ruling. Professor Turley has pledged to defend this decision on appeal and we are equally committed to fight to preserve this now final and complete victory.”


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