Utah’s state Senate voted unanimously to decriminalize polygamy, hoping to make it an infraction on par with a parking ticket.
The bill swiftly cleared the Republican-controlled Senate in the predominantly Mormon state with a vote of 29-0 with little discussion on Tuesday. It now moves to the Utah House of Representatives, where it is likely to face greater resistance.
Polygamy is currently classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If the Senate bill becomes law, punishments would be limited to fines of up to $750 and community service.
However, fraudulent bigamy — in which an individual obtains licenses to marry more than one spouse without their knowledge, or seeks to wed someone underage without her consent — would remain a felony.
Utah still has a strong presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had an early history of polygamy.
While mainstream members abandoned the practice in 1890, an estimated 30,000 people living in polygamous communities follow teachings that taking multiple wives brings exaltation in heaven.
Critics of the bill argued that it wouldn’t do enough to protect victims in underage marriages, according to The Associated Press.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.