Even if you put aside the free exercise of religion argument – which most folks do, since fundamentalist Mormons aren’t exactly the most popular people on earth. They’ve already been expelled from the mainstream Church of Latter Day Saints – the law is still absurd, particularly in the case of Bountiful. Other than the part about multiple marital partners, no one is alleging anything untoward happening there.
Let’s say that you take your thirteen year old daughter, beat the snot out of her, lock her in a closet for a month and force her to marry some ghoulish religious elder, who proceeds to impregnate her a dozen or so times. Well, you’re f**ked, since all of those things are already against the law. Even absent the famous “sister-brides,” you’ve committed at least four serious crimes, multiple counts of them, in fact, and will go to jail for a good long time. Congratulations!
However, if you’re talking about a situation such as Bountiful, where everyone is consenting and there is no evidence of violence or criminal coercion, all you’re doing is prosecuting a lifestyle that really shouldn’t concern you. Bountiful is right in the middle of nowhere, so you can’t even argue that the FLDS are mortifying the neighbors.
To those of you who worry about 1,000 people in the middle of nowhere destroying your values, I ask this: aren’t you more worried about the government? Do you want it doing for your personal or communal values what it did for the budget? Really?
Since the most horrifying, Warren Jeffs aspects of polygamy are already illegal, it is entirely possible for the government to prosecute the violent and ugly underbelly of it while leaving the cast of “Big Love” alone. …
There’s a difference between the government formally recognizing a certain form of marriage, and actually making said form of marriage a criminal offence. (Even before gay marriage was officially recognized in Canada, there was no law that said a same-sex couple couldn’t go to a gay-friendly church and go through some kind of marriage ceremony.)