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Polygamy in Britain

Published July 31, 2012 5:04 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Turns out the U.S. doesn't have the monopoly on interesting legal thickets surrounding polygamy, according to this article from the Daily Mail in London.

Plural marriage isn't legal in Britain, but men, primarily Muslims, can marry more than one woman if they wed abroad.

The story is focused on the fact that an attempt to crack down on polygamous families using state aid backfired — by no longer recognizing the unions, the state now sees the women as single, upping their potential benefits.

There are about 1,000 polygamous families in Britain, and only 50 claim welfare, according to the story. In Utah, by comparison, the polygamous community's total population (men, women and children) is estimated at 30,000.

(Allegations of welfare fraud have long swirled around polygamists here, especially the Warren Jeffs-led FLDS. A Tribune review in 2009, however, found the facts don't fit those claims. Read it here.)