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Thanks to Browns, polygamy back in national eye

Published December 23, 2011 9:50 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Once again, thanks to Kody Brown and his four wives, polygamy is in the national spotlight.

Last Friday, Brown — the patriarch of the family featured on TLC's reality show "Sister Wives" — and his lawyers were in a Salt Lake City federal courtroom, urging a judge to throw out Utah's bigamy law.

One of his lawyers is Jonathan Turley, the constitutional-law expert and frequent guest on cable-TV talk shows.

"Not only has the state defined them as a criminal association, you have prosecutors coming out and saying they are committing a crime every night on television," Turley said (as reported by the Tribune's Lindsay Whitehurst). "If this doesn't get them to come to federal court, what does, short of a federal indictment?"

The case has drawn national attention, in large part because of Brown's televised soapbox.

"Nearly two years after 'Big Love's' Bill Henrickson ran for Senate expressly to take 'The Principle' (a.k.a. polygamy) mainstream, it seems a curious case of life imitating art," wrote Lanford Beard on Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog. "We know how things ended for poor Bill, but what of the Browns, whose own series was spun off of Love's popularity? Do they have a chance that their love might be one day accepted by the public?"