Saturday, November 04, 2006

October 31 OTR: Utah Polygamy

This past Tuesday, Greta Van Susteren had a segment on
the Kingston Family in Utah that is being investigated
for incest crimes. Greta re-titled the investigation
under polygamy without basis in her discussion with
the Kingston Family attorney. She insisted in bringing
criticism of polygamy into the discussion even
though the charges have nothing to do with it. She
even got the lawyer to agree with her that polygamy
was illegal and the lawyer deferred to a law in
co-habitation being strengthened.

The facts, which Greta has never addressed are that the
Kingstons practice multiple co-habitation. CNN and
Anderson Cooper have addressed the subject in depth.
Polygamy is legally defined as multiple legal marriages.
Legal marriages are contracts entered into with the
government in exchange for a marriage license. When one
obtains a second, concurrent marriage license, one is
in sense defrauding the government and comitting bigamy
or polygamy, when the number of concurrent licenses exceeds

The polygamist religions in Utah do not practice legal
marriage according to CNN. They practice what they call
'spiritual marriages'. Their marriages are performed
without the issuance of marriage licenses. What is a
'spiritual marriage'? The term has most recently been used
in the media to describe the marriage between Anna Nicole
Smith and Howard K. Stern. Their marriage, and the media
nailed this point to the core, is not legally licensed by the
government. The couple has none of the incentives that the
government reserves for legally married couples like tax
savings, insurance dependencies and probate benefits.

The same applies to the Kingstons and the Fundamentalist LDS
religions and their marriages. The US Supreme Court has
ruled that adultery cannot be criminalized. Therefore, to have
more than one sex partner outside of legalized marriage can
neither be criminal. The law does not recognize non-legal
(or 'spiritual') marriage distinct from an unmarried status.
Therefore, under the law, there is no crime in the polygamy
occurring in Utahans' commission of multiple spiritual marriages.
Greta Van Susteren has repeatedly treated the activity as illegal
on her show although she has never covered a case where there
are criminal charges of illegal polygamy against a Utah citizen.
In the case of Warren Jeffs, another example where Greta cites
polygamy, the criminal charges are actually rape and conspiracy to
commit rape. No where is Jeffs wanted for or charged with polygamy.

We want Greta to get her facts straight. The religions of
Utah practicing polygamous spiritual marriages in the absense
of marriage licensing have a constitutional right to their
practices. As long as they are not molesting children or mating
family members, which the majority do not, they are not committing
any crimes. They do not deserve to be disparaged for their legal
practices on a cable news show by a misinformed news anchor. In fact,
they may have grounds for defamation and slander due to Greta's
coverage. I have not seen other news programs disparaging Greta
for her religious practices and she needs to extend the same
courtesy to her fellow citizens. In this country we practice freedom
of religion, whether it be Christianity, FLDS, Islam, Judaism or
any of other religions practiced on our planet.

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