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Where in Utah Is Polygamy Legal

«The current ban on polygamy has created a shadow society where vulnerable people make easy prey,» Henderson said. «Because of the very real fear of incarceration, job loss, unfair treatment and caring for their children, we now have an environment where crimes are often not reported, victims are silenced and perpetrators are empowered,» she said. «I saw with my own eyes how the leaders were able to take control for fear of prosecution,» she said. In Utah, polygamy is a crime, and it took Draper six years to move. «I had no way to get help. Everywhere I went, I was visually identifiable as a criminal and greeted with hostility. «I`m convinced that polygamy is a symptom of the problem, but it`s not the problem itself,» Park said. «The problem is the patriarchal hierarchy with religious punishments. This requires much more than just legislation. Brenda Nicholson is a former member of the same FLDS sect as Shirlee Draper, but she opposes the decision to decriminalize polygamy. She believes it`s not fear of law enforcement that isolates people, it`s the control tactics of polygamous leaders themselves. Draper is now the director of operations for Cherish Families, an organization that serves those affected by polygamy. «What we have done is legislate for the unfavorable treatment of second-class citizens,» she said.

«Let us not create populations and communities vulnerable to this kind of exploitation and abuse. We`ve done it to people of color, we`ve done it to sex workers, we`ve done it to undocumented immigrants. We decide that they are not worth living in society, and so we ostracize them, which practically guarantees that they will be exploited, that they will be hurt. SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) – Legislation to effectively decriminalize polygamy among consensual adults in Utah passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, a step closer to the bill. Polygamists lobbied lawmakers for the bill, who widely stated that they believed the integration of plural families into society would lead to positive change. Anti-polygamy activists said the law would not change, fearing it would encourage leaders to perpetuate abuse. Under the law, polygamy is still considered a crime if the person also commits other crimes, including criminal murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, smuggling, sexual offenses, or child abuse. «This bill strikes a balance between reassuring otherwise law-abiding polygamists that they need not fear prosecution, imprisonment or removal of their children simply for leading polygamous lives, while holding those who commit serious crimes accountable,» Henderson said. Since the state criminalized polygamy in 1935, polygamous families have dispersed and formed communities, some as part of religious groups and others independently. SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) – The Utah state Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to decriminalize polygamy among consensual adults and reduce sentences for a practice deeply rooted in the predominantly Mormon state. The bill sparked much controversy on Capitol Hill in Utah, but won overwhelming support among lawmakers.

Utah was forced to abandon the practice of polygamy as a condition of statehood. Nevertheless, it is still practiced today. Pro-polygamy groups estimate that 30,000 to 40,000 people in the state agree with Mormon fundamentalism, the belief system that includes plural marriage. The bill, which would treat the crime of plural marriage as a simple violation in the same way as a parking ticket, is now going to the Utah House of Representatives, where it is likely to face greater opposition. Utah`s polygamy laws date back to its unique history. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) once practiced polygamy as part of their religion and fled to the Utah area when they were persecuted. But to become a state, the federal government asked Utah to write in its constitution that «polygamous or plural marriages are forbidden forever.» Critics, however, say the measure falsely portrays polygamy as a human rights issue. The office of Gov. Gary Herbert did not immediately comment on the bill, though it has already expressed support for a change in Utah`s approach to polygamy.