Officials: 'Time to legalize polygamy'
by Teri Belle Price
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was joined by the attorneys general of four Western states today as he called for Congress to legalize polygamy.
"It's high time that we eliminate laws that nobody wants to enforce," Holder said. "This is a bipartisan issue. Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general in Utah, supports me in this because he is committed to allowing polygamists to flout state and federal laws that prohibit polygamy."
Shurtleff said it's a waste of time and energy to enforce laws that thousands of people ignore.
"We might as well legalize polygamy," he said,. "I don't enforce the law anyway. It's my job to decide which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore, and I've decided that Congress and the Utah Legislature had it wrong when they made polygamy illegal. And so why have a law that nobody enforces? It's time to legalize polygamy so that people can have as many wives or husbands as they wish without living with the constant fear of arrest."
Shurtleff is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), which officially discontinued polygamy in 1890 and excommunicates any member who is affiliated with any group that advocates polygamy.
"I don't believe in polygamy and neither does the Mormon Church," Shurtleff said, "but a lot of people do. We figure that about 35,000 people here in Utah are involved in the practice. And just because I don't believe in it, that doesn't mean that consenting adults should not have the right to do what they want."
He appeared at a press conference today at a polygamist sect's temple in Eldorado, Texas, along with Holder and the the attorneys general of Colorado and Nevada. Arizona Attorney General Leif B. Lower was unable to attend because deciduous trees in his yard had left a thick layer of leaves that needed his attention. Texas Attorney General N. Fohrs d'Ruehls was conspicuously absent.
Co-leaders of the Utah-based polygamous group Lords of Utah Serving Together (LUST), Bryson "Bry" Tyes and Busch E. Tayles, said they were happy that officials were finally beginning to recognize their right to practice their religion.
"When officials don't enforce a law," Tayles said, "it's confusing. Look at the undocumented worker issue. Everybody knows that most law enforcement people here don't want to deport anybody. And that's why we need a law legalizing undocumented migrants.
"There used to be laws against adultery, but hardly anybody was ever prosecuted, and so we eventually eliminated those laws. Most people think marijuana should be legalized, and in some states it is legal. Now it's time to legalize polygamy. If I want to marry two dozen women and have a hundred children, that should not be the government's business."
Tyes acknowledged that polygamists frequently require governmental aid to feed and clothe their offspring.
"The government provides housing, medical care and food to other poor people," he said, "including illegal aliens, ghetto moms with lots of kids born out of wedlock and native Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. We think it's only fair that the government pay for the needs of people who are trying to live their religion."
Polygamy has caught the public eye again with the airing of the new television reality show, "Sister Wives," which premiered Sept. 26 on The Learning Channel (TLC).
"We at The Learning Channel are primarily interested in educating citizens about important aspects of life in the world," network president Howie Dewen said. "Polygamy is something that people need to learn more about. We did not choose this program because it is sensational and titillating. We chose it because we must educate our youth about optional choices they have in forming families. After all, many muslims practice polygamy, and as muslims make up a larger percentage of the population of Europe and America, it is only logical to expect polygamy to increase in popularity."
Lower, interviewed by Skinnyreporter while moving detritus from his lawn, said he supports Holder because polygamists are no worse than unfaithful monogamous husbands who carry on extramarital affairs.
"Polygamists don't hide their affairs from their wives," Lower said. "Every sister wife knows what she is getting into. Most of them love their lives as sister wives and appreciate the help they receive in trying to keep their husbands happy."
Colorado Attorney General Miles Walker, a well-known environmental activist who gained fame as a globe trotting hiker, said polygamy could help governmental efforts to reduce global warming gases.
"Polygamist wives are willing to live a life of poverty," he said. "just like monks in a monastery. So I'm convinced they have a smaller carbon footprint than monogamous wives. We have found that most of these polygamists have just a couple of cars for every five or six adults, and either one TV or no television sets, so promoting polygamy only makes sense if we want to save the earth from pollution and the resultant global warming."
Nevada Attorney General Moe Lestor said it makes little sense in a state that legalizes prostitution to stop citizens from marrying multiple sexual partners.
"The government should not worry so much about what people do with their bodies. Fifty years ago the government intervened too much. We've made so much headway since then. Now a woman can start working at the Bunny Ranch when she gets out of high school, she can abort her young if she becomes the victim of pregnancy, and we'll help pay for the procedure, and if she chooses to have the baby, we help with her bills. I look forward to the day when an 18-year-old can marry a man with eight or 10 other wives to help her learn how to be a wife and mother."
Mona Lott, president of the Women On Equality (WOE), said it is important that polygamous rights be awarded to women as well as to men.
"My choice would be to have six or seven husbands," Lott said. "I don't think one husband could take my nagging, but if I could split my time with half a dozen guys, maybe they could see my good side. And how nice would it be to have six family checking accounts instead of one?"
The Gay Equality Lesbian Desexualized and Emerging Defense League supports intrasexual as well as intersexual polygamy.
GELDED League President Anita Goodman,who used to be an NFL football player known as Andy Goodwin before his/her lopitofomy, said her/his dream is to be married to 10 men.
"One man's nightmare is a woman's dream," she/he said.