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Federal judge rules in favor of polygamous Utah family

Dec. 15, 2013 at 12:42 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge has sided with the polygamous family of the reality TV series "Sister Wives," striking down key parts of Utah's laws barring plural relationships.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, in a 91-page ruling Friday in the case of a 2011 lawsuit brought by the family of Kody Brown, found constitutional shortcomings in the parts of Utah's law making cohabitation illegal, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday. The judge says the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments.

Waddoups said simply living together doesn't constitute being "married," Waddoups writes.

"The court finds the cohabitation prong of the statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it," Waddoups wrote.

The judge decided bigamy is illegal only when someone fraudulently acquires multiple marriage licenses, the newspaper said.

"While we know that many people do not approve of plural families, it is our family and based on our beliefs," Brown wrote in a statement the family released through their attorney. "Just as we respect the personal and religious choices of other families, we hope that in time all of our neighbors and fellow citizens will come to respect our own choices as part of this wonderful country of different faiths and beliefs."

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