Bigamy bill SB102 moves one step closer toward becoming law

February 24, 2020

A bill in the Utah State Legislature that would amend the bigamy statute was passed unanimously out of House Committee.  Much of the discussion around SB102 centered around whether the current laws in the state have created an environment of fear and discrimination against plural families making it more difficult for them to access employment, education and public services.  Many also discussed whether new changes would make it easier for people in abusive situations to report crime without fear of repercussions.

A broad range of current and former members of plural communities spoke in support of the bill, including the Mayor of Hilldale, Utah, Donia Jessop along with former and current FLDS members, independent fundamentalists, victims advocates, a representative of the state prosecutors office and others.  

Speaking against the bill were attorney Doug White, Melissa Ellis and 3 other representatives of the anti-polygamy group Sound Choices Coalition which made up the majority of the opposition.  Tonya Tewel with the Christian evangelical, anti-polygamy group Holding out Help, also spoke in opposition to the bill.

Most who spoke in opposition to the bill also pushed for minor changes in bill wording, one of which was adopted by the committee.

The bill now must go to the House floor for debate, and back to the Senate for a final vote before going to the Governor's desk for final approval.

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