We at Sound Choices Coalition are outraged that the Utah state legislature has passed SB102 which de-criminalizes polygamy. This is abhorrent to us, many polygamist victims and other Utahn’s who recognize that religious polygamy, as practiced in Utah and around the country, is responsible for many serious human rights violations. Most, who are living in these fundamentalist polygamous groups and families, are treated as property, forced to work without pay, traded as daughters, coerced into having unwanted sex, and into giving birth to numerous children they can not care for. They’ve been threatened and controlled to the point that the only term accurate to theirs and our experiences is: “slavery.”
By passing SB102 which de-criminalizes polygamy, the Utah state legislature has chosen to support and protect what we see as the equivalent of modern day plantation owners.
By passing this bill the senate and house of representatives are moving toward legalization of polygamy which is a violation of their oath of office which is to support the Utah State Constitution which states in article 3:
“No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”
This bill is a big step towards legalizing polygamy and reverses the stance that polygamy is a crime, which has been in place for over 100 years. It also ignores the fact that polygamy is widely seen as a form of oppression and slavery for women and children who suffer the most. For this reason the Canadian supreme court ruled in 2011 that polygamy is to be banned nationwide. Utah however has taken the opposite position, refusing to prosecute illegal polygamous marriages and instead, has now de-criminalized bigamy (polygamy) in general. This bill supports supposed “consenting” adults in programming their children, that they too must “consent to living polygamy,” or be destroyed, as their fundamentalist doctrine commands.”
We at Sound Choices Coalition, which is made up in part of women who have escaped the oppression of polygamy, feel that by supporting polygamous groups they really are supporting a form of modern day sex slavery. This is not only anti-liberty and anti-American, it is a violation of the terms of statehood which was granted by the federal government on the condition that polygamy be banned permanently. While it has been banned in writing, Utah has refused to enforce the ban, and is now taking steps towards legalizing it which leads us to a greater concern: Now the Mormon Church has liberty publicly reinstate practice of polygamy.
If Mormon polygamy grows and spreads from the passage of this bill, so will the human rights violations. We feel all of America is at risk from these actions and we urge the Federal Government to stop Utah (as they did in the 19th century).
Sound Choices Coalition