10th Circuit orders “Sister Wives” polygamy case dismissed as moot

Today, in the controversial case of Brown v. Buhman, the Tenth Circuit held that a challenge to Utah’s anti-bigamy statute brought by reality television star Kody Brown and his four “sister wives” is moot, and vacated the judgment in their favor.

Mr. Brown claims to be married to four women, and his lawsuit has been seen as an effort to challenge anti-polygamy laws on constitutional grounds, but his lawsuit was moot, the Tenth Circuit said (in an opinion by Judge Matheson) because the Utah prosecuting authorities adopted a policy under which it will only prosecute under the anti-bigamy statute in certain circumstances, none of which applied to the plaintiffs here.

Although this particular challenge to laws limiting marriage to two persons has now faltered, this issue will undoubtedly be raised again elsewhere.

 

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