Polygamy now officially decriminalized in Utah

New York Daily News/May 12, 2020

By Joseph Wilkinson

The more the merrier.

For the first time in 85 years, polygamy is no longer a felony in Utah.

A state law, passed back in March, went into effect Tuesday dropping polygamy from a third-degree felony to an infraction, basically the same legal level as a traffic ticket.

Though it’s a new day legally, in recent years the Utah attorney general’s office rarely prosecuted polygamists, and only did so in cases in which people had been accused of additional crimes.

Supporters of the bill have argued that it will allow women in abusive polygamous relationships more freedom to come forward, knowing that they will not face felony prosecution.

Opponents said that this decriminalization would empower men who treated women like property in polygamous communities.

Polygamy in Utah dates back to before the area was even a state. Church of Latter-day Saints leader Brigham Young and many of his followers had multiple wives, but the practice was largely ditched around 1890 as part of Utah’s bid for statehood. Today, the main church in the state excommunicates polygamists, but smaller groups still practice it.

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