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Polygamists hope Supreme Court rulings will pave way to decriminalization

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** FILE ** Kody Brown hugs his wives, (from left) Robyn, Christine, Meri and Janelle. They appear on the reality series “Sister Wives” on TLC. “‘Sister Wives’ shows that polygamy is rather boring,” said Brian Barnard, a Utah-based religious-freedom lawyer. (Associated Press)

Polygamists nationwide are cheering the Supreme Court’s rulings on Wednesday, which paved the way for gay marriage in California and federal recognition for married same-sex couples.

“I was very glad,” polygamist Anne Wilde told Buzzfeed on Wednesday. “The nuclear family, with a dad and a mom and two or three kids, is not the majority anymore. Now it’s grandparents taking care of kids, single parents, gay parents. I think people are more and more understanding that as consenting adults, we should be able to raise a family however we choose.”

Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist who has three wives, told Buzzfeed that the court “has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.”

Anita Wagner Illig, head of the group Practical Polyamory, told U.S. News & World Report that the Supreme Court had set a welcome precedent.

“We polyamorists are grateful to our brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail,” she said. “I would absolutely want to seek multi-partner marriage — it would eliminate a common challenge polyamorists face when two [people] are legally married and others in their group relationships aren’t part of that marriage.”

Until recently, she noted, “the polyamory community has expressed little desire for legal marriage,” but now more options seem possible. “We polyamorists are grateful to our [LGBT] brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail,” Ms. Illig said.

About the Author

Jessica Chasmar

Jessica Chasmar is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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