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(Tribune file photo) Kody Brown and his four wives, Janelle Brown, top, Robyn Brown, Christine Brown and Meri Brown, pose for a portrait at the Downtown Mariott in Salt Lake City in September 2010.
Sponsor said polygamy bill will have to wait

Legislation » Price representative agreed it’s better to see how court case turns out first.

First Published Feb 03 2014 05:15 pm • Last Updated Feb 03 2014 08:58 pm

A proposal to strip away a key part of Utah’s polygamy laws was scrapped for this year because of a pending legal case, a state lawmaker said Monday.

Rep. Jerry Anderson, R-Price, said he’s abandoning his bill that would make Utah laws comply with a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a key part of the state polygamy statute.

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In December, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups threw out the part of the bigamy law that bans cohabitation.

Waddoups said the provision was a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.

The Utah attorney general’s office might appeal the ruling, so Anderson said he’s dropping his proposal this year because lawmakers don’t want to interfere.

Anderson said he originally introduced the bill because the cohabitation clause has made polygamous families illegal, creating tough situations for law enforcement. He said there are times when officers or prosecutors are reluctant to enforce the laws to break up families.

It also keeps those families in the shadows, which interferes with government interests such as U.S. Census counts, he said.

"Beyond that, I didn’t have any ideas about promoting polygamy."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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