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Federal judge turns back challenge to Utah polygamy ban

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Ted Stewart Wednesday refused to strike down Utah's ban on polygamy, turning back a suit brought by a Utah man who wanted to add another wife to his marriage. Stewart said the state has an interest in protecting monogamous marriage and that the current law did not violate religious and privacy rights of individuals. His decision was the latest reassertion of legal authority going back to 1878 Reynolds case [text], which upheld the criminal conviction of a Mormon man in the state for polygamist practice. Stewart also rejected the plaintiff's assertion that the 2003 US Supreme Court opinion in Lawrence v. Texas [PDF], which overturned an anti-sodomy law as a violation of the privacy of consenting adults, extended to polygamy in Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [official website] officially ended the practice of polygamy in 1890 and the Utah Constitution [text] banned plural marriage as a condition for the state to join the union. The Salt Lake Tribune has more.

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