A Montana man said…that he was inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife.
Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings…in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy — holding multiple marriage licenses — but Collier said he plans to sue if the application is denied.
County clerk officials initially denied Collier’s application, then said they would consult with the county attorney’s office before giving him a final answer, Collier said…
The county attorney copped out by saying he wouldn’t second-guess the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s ruling…made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them…
Collier said he is a former Mormon who was excommunicated for polygamy and now belongs to no religious organization. He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years, but became tired of hiding and went public by appearing on the reality cable television show “Sister Wives.”
The three have seven children of their own and from previous relationships.
“My second wife Christine, who I’m not legally married to, she’s put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy,” he said…
Anne Wilde, a co-founder of the polygamy advocacy organization Principle Voices located in Utah, said Collier’s application is the first she’s heard of in the nation, and that most polygamous families in Utah are not seeking the right to have multiple marriage licenses.
“Ninety percent or more of the fundamentalist Mormons don’t want it legalized, they want it decriminalized,” Wilde said.
A federal judge struck down parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy law two years ago, saying the law violated religious freedom by prohibiting cohabitation. Bigamy is still illegal.
My friends used to tease me, saying I must believe firmly in marriage – otherwise I wouldn’t do it so often. Still, that describes – to me, anyways – how difficult it is to find really deep compatibility in our society. I don’t know that it’s so different from the past, just that freedom and opportunity are more widely accepted among educated folks.
And, yes, I’d say that’s a benefit – not a problem. My wife and I found each other just over 23 years ago and we get happier the more we know about each other – the more we learn about life and the world together.
Nathan and Victoria and Christine appear to be happy together. They’re not trying to harm anyone or steal from anyone. I don’t think they need to be classified as criminals.