Arizona Governor Signs Bill Targeting Polygamy

Associated Press/May 4, 2004

Phoenix -- Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has signed into law a bill intended to combat the forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves by creating the crime of child bigamy. The bill is modeled after a Utah law.

It makes it a felony for a married adult to marry a child. Other provisions are aimed at holding parents responsible for forced marriages of their children.

The Arizona Constitution already prohibits polygamy. But Arizona's bigamy law addresses only state-sanctioned marriages, not those recognized only by churches.

Critics say the bill targets people because of their religious beliefs.

Polygamy is practiced openly in the remote border towns of Colorado City, Arizona and neighboring Hildale, Utah.

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