UT to Make Marriage a Felony?

UT to Make Marriage a Felony?
PlanetOut News Staff
Friday, February 9, 2001 / 07:51 AM

An effort to protect young girls from (heterosexual) polygamy in Mormon-dominated Utah is getting more notice for how it would treat those who do ceremonies for same-gender

The Utah state Senate on February 8 unanimously approved a bill targeting polygamy – after ensuring the measure would make it a felony to perform a marriage for a gay or lesbian couple. The religious right’s leading legal expert on family issues, Brigham Young University professor Lynn Wardle, believes SB 146 would only apply to gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies if the parties involved sought some legal benefit of marriage. But a more liberal Salt Lake family law attorney, Laura Milliken Gray, believes lawsuits are certain to ensue. The bill moves next to the Utah House. (Enactment of a similar anti-polygamy measure will soon be sought in Arizona.)

Full article: http://www.planetout.com/pno/news/article.html?2001/02/09/2

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Have we really reached the point in this country where a person who performs a public ceremony which pronounces to the whole world that the two people before them will love each other until death do them part is considered a felon?


Yer pal,

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Of course lawsuits are certain to ensue. Lawsuits are EVERYwhere, man…

Jeezum Crow, marriage is a tradition… JUST a tradition. A long-standing tradition, but nothing more. We should not be enforcing our traditions by law.

I compare this measure with enacting a law that requires people to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I can’t for the life of me understand how anyone could think that this is constitutional. First of all, I would like to point out something that may seem like a nitpick, but is very important. As I understand it, this law would not make marriages felonies, but make weddings felonies. Marriage is a civil institution, and therefore within the purview of the government. Weddings, however, are religious ceremonies, and the government has absolutely no business making laws about them. Allowing the government to decide which weddings are allowed makes as much sense as allowing the government to decide which baptisms are allowed.

The situation is, right now, it’s illegal for someone to have a polygamous marriage, but it’s not illegal for a clergyman to perfom such a marriage. This law would make the clergyman liable. I think that’s the main goal.

Yeah… Next thing yopu know, the President is going to set up a plan to have faith-based charities take government money to handle social programs…

Yer pal,

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Actually, the avowed original purpose of the Law is good- to prevent child molestation & incest being “legalized” by “marriage”. The side effect of it, after the admendment, is to MAYBE apply to gay marriages.

So- yes the government SHOULD be able to decide it is against the law for some religous nutcake perv to marry his wifes little 14 yo sister.

ryan- ordained ministers & such are empowered by CIVIL law to perform legal weddings (in most juristictions)- thus a wedding is both a religous & legal ceremony.

But- the gay thing is rather stupid.

I believe we already have a thread about this:

“Do you take this person…?” “I do.” “You’re under arrest.”



So they could’ve written a law requiring those performing marriages to have proof that both parties were 16 or older. That would’ve applied equally to underage polygamous marriages, gay and lesbian marriages, and traditional heterosexual marriages.

(Yes, I’m sure that kids under 16 can probably get married in Utah, as they can in many other states. But I’ve never been sure why one can consent to a lifelong commitment at such a young age, when one isn’t legally entitled to consent to a single act of sex.)

It is already not possible to marry someone under the age of consent. This law deals with weddings. Why should it be illegal for a “religious nutcake perv” and “his wifes little 14 yop sister” to have a wedding? If it is illegal for a 14 year old to promise eternal devotion to a person, shouldn’t it also be illegal for a 14 year old to promise eternal devotion to a God?

No, they are empowered to perform weddings and marriages. The marriage conists of four sentences
“Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do”
“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do”
Everything else is the wedding. Just because a civil matter is dealt with during a religious ceremony, that does not make the entire ceremony a civil matter. Simply saying “Well, the law proscribes unauthorized people from conducting weddings”, as you seem to be doing, begs the question.

RTFirefly wrote:

Not quite. In California, at least, it’s illegal to have sex with a minor, but not if you are married to the minor. If you’re legally married to a 14 year old (which does require the consent of the 14-year-old’s parents or legal guardians), you can fuck each others’ brains out just as much and as often as you please.

Funny, the parents/guardians are permitted under law to let their kid get married and have sex, but not to let their kid have sex without getting married…

My friend married his wife when she was 15 (you have to be 17 to get married without parental permission in Texas). It led to some interesting situations, they had to carry their marriage certificate around with them so she could go to bars with him (he acted as her legal guardian).