Polygamous Darger family meeting with Utah lawmakers
Published: January 25, 2013 07:20AM
Updated: January 25, 2013 09:23AM
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Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Twin sisters Valerie, left, and Vicki Darger, both married to Polygamist Joe Darger along with third wife Alina, not pictured, get ready to enter federal court in Salt Lake City for a hearing of arguments in the "Sister Wives" lawsuit challenging Utah's bigamy laws.

As the Utah Legislature prepares for the 2013 session, members of one polygamous Utah family are stepping up efforts to humanize their lifestyle.

Joe Darger said Thursday afternoon he and members of his family — including wives Alina, Vicki and Valerie, as well as some of their 24 children — are meeting with Utah legislators and giving them copies of the book “Love Times Three.”

The book details the experience of Darger’s family members. It was co-written by Tribune reporter Brooke Adams.

Darger said the meetings have been going well, though he declined to mention specific lawmakers without first getting their approval. He explained that the goal is to get the lawmakers to see that Utahns living a polygamous lifestyle are real people.

He also said he wants lawmakers to understand that polygamy shouldn’t be illegal, and pushing it underground has caused many of the problems now associated with the lifestyle.

“I think the statute on bigamy needs to change,” Darger argued. “We’re educating them on the harmful impacts that this law continues to have.”

Darger said his family has been politically active for years but meeting with lawmakers now seemed timely, especially given the lawsuit filed by the Brown family — made famous on the television show “Sister Wives” — challenging the constitutionality of Utah’s bigamy laws.

Darger added that his family was not supporting a specific piece of legislation.

­— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii