Supreme Court rejects Sister Wives bid for polygamous marriage

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The Supreme Court has declined to take up a court case on polygamous marriage.

The case had been brought by the stars of TLC reality series Sister Wives – a polygamist family who follow a fringe Mormon belief system that permits men to wed multiple women.

Utah-based Kody Brown and his four wives – Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn – had filed a legal brief contending that because the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a constitutional right for same-sex couples, it should also recognise polygamous families.

Mr Brown had alleged that state marriage laws – which make polygamy a felony punishable by up to five years in prison – are discriminatory and unconstitutional, after a humiliating police investigation of his family.

Today the highest court in the US declined to hear their case, Brown v. Buhman – leaving a ruling against the family to stand.

The family had had some success in a district court battle in 2013, when Utah’s laws were found to be unconstitutional. However, after a 2016 challenge from Utah’s Attorney General, the decision was overturned by the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in a unanimous ruling.

The brief listing from the Supreme Court today confirmed: “CERTIORARI DENIED 16-333 BROWN, KODY, ET AL. V. BUHMAN, JEFFREY R. The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.”

A lawyer for Brown’s family previously likened their case to equal marriage in a court brief.

He contended: “From the rejection of morality legislation in [striking down sodomy laws] to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in [the case of same-sex marriage] it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions.”

One of the Brown’s children recently came out as gay.

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