Attorneys who enjoy polygamy and civil rights lawsuits will have to settle for just one polygamy case in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals pipeline. Last week, the Tenth Circuit dismissed Mekbib G. Adgeh’s appeal arguing that he has legal right to have more than one wife.
The court found that Agdeh’s claim was a frivolous lawsuit and failed as a matter of law.
Had Adgeh been a paying appellant in the court, his case may have progressed slightly further. Agdeh, however, tried to proceed in forma pauperis, without prepayment of costs or fees. In forma pauperis parties must demonstrate a reasoned, non-frivolous argument as to why the district court’s decision is incorrect, in addition to financial inability to pay.
Adgeh's initial complaint, entitled, "My Legal Right To Have More Than One Wife" offered Biblical references, rather than statutes or case law, to support his pro-polygamy claim. The Tenth Circuit noted that while Adgeh advanced a number of policy reasons which, in his opinion, justify polygamy, he did not advance a non-frivolous argument on appeal as to how the ban violates any constitutional right.
The remaining polygamy case that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals could potentially hear in the near future? Sister Wives star Kody Brown's federal lawsuit in Utah, seeking to expand the Lawrence v. Texas right to privacy to polygamy.
Don't assume that Brown will win; FindLaw's Celebrity Justice notes, "Unlike homosexuality, polygamy has never been protected by law - and the state could make the case that there are legitimate state interests in preserving bigamy laws, like preventing harm from one spouse to another."
- Adgeh v. Oklahoma (Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals)
- Reynolds v. U.S. (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- 'Sister Wives' Family Investigated for Bigamy (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- The Marriage Debate and Polygamy: Several Utah Cases Challenge Whether Anti-Polygamy Laws Are Constitutional (FindLaw)
- The Real Frivolous Lawsuit Crisis (FindLaw)