News & Politics

Polygamist Family Cheers Ruling Barring Utah From Prosecuting Those With Multiple Spouses

The Dargers, a Mormon family with 25 children, praise a federal judge's ruling that strikes down a law that uses cohabitation as a basis for prosecution.

Some Utah polygamists are cheering after a federal court struck down part of a law banning multiple spouses.  

In December, Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that a Utah law that uses cohabitation as a basis for prosecution was unconstitutional under the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.  But the law as it stands still prohibits two or more spouses, meaning that nobody can have two or more valid marriage licenses.

The court decision has pleased the Dargers, a Mormon family with 25 children.  Three women are married to Joe Darger.  Darger is only legally married to Elena, and “spiritually” married to Elena’s cousin Vicki and Vicki’s twin sister, Valerie.  They are member of a small offshoot of the Mormon church that still practices polygamy, despite the fact that the larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn’t practice polygamy.

The family has worried that Joe could face arrest.  Now, that possibility is thrown out.  

“I think you’re going to start seeing more people like us become more public,” said Joe Darger in an interview with AFP.  

Anti-polygamy campaigners are mad at the decision because Mormon scripture teaches that if a woman does not consent to polygamy, God will destroy her.

Watch the video, below:


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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