Utah Governor Forced to Question Lack of Polygamy Prosecution

Utah Governor Mike Leavitt met with Utah’s attorney general to discuss why the state, which has outlawed polygamy rarely prosecutes polygamists.

Leavitt was condemned by alleged victims of polygamy for tacit approval of the practice after he implied that the Mormon practice of plural marriage might be protected under the First Amendment . Tapestry of Polgygama, a self-help group for former polygamist wives and children, held a press conference outside the governor’s office where they presented him with a letter urging him to enforce the anti-polygamy law that was written in Utah’s constitution at the state’s inception.

No one has been prosecuted solely for polygamy in Utah since 1952.

Chief Deputy Reed Richards said that Utah’s policy is simple, “Crimes are prosecuted when we know about them.” He added that plural marriage is often a crime between two consenting adults.


AP - July 27, 1998

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