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'Sister Wives' Family to Help Legalize Bigamy?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on December 27, 2011 5:55 AM

The TLC reality show Sister Wives put bigamy back into the spotlight. The stars, including Kody Brown and his four wives, even filed a lawsuit in federal court last July.

The suit is still working its way through the system. The Browns essentially seek to challenge Utah's bigamy law. The law criminalizes marrying more than one individual. It also criminalizes cohabitation.

Brown is only legally married to one of his wives. The rest he wed in religious ceremonies. They consider themselves "spiritually married," reports the AP. But since Utah's law criminalizes cohabitation, not just marriage, the family could still be indicted.

That's why the Browns contend that the law is unconstitutional. They say that it prohibits them from living together. It also makes their private sex life a crime.

The Browns are so concerned that they moved from Lehi, Utah to Nevada earlier this year. The move also came after an investigation was launched into the family.

In order for the case to proceed, the Browns must show that they have standing to challenge the law. Usually, individuals have standing if they suffered or are threatened with an injury.

The Browns argue that they have. A court heard their arguments last Friday, according to the AP. During the proceeding, the Browns and their attorney claimed that the family suffered financially. They were forced to move because of the bigamy law. The family also claimed their reputation was harmed.

Attorneys for the state argued against the Browns' contentions. They said that the family was in no threat. They also said that the investigation into the Browns was not over bigamy. It's over something else, which they declined to disclose.

Will Kody Brown and his family's Sister Wives bigamy lawsuit proceed? It's up to the judge, and it's uncertain when he will rule, the AP reports. If Browns' suit is successful, they may end up legalizing bigamy in the state.

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