New Utah Law Makes Marriage To Multiple Spouses A Minor Act
A law signed back in March in the state of Utah now makes having multiple husbands or wives a marital slap on the wrist.
Bigamy, or the act of being legally married to multiple persons at the same time, was once a serious crime in the Beehive State. A $5,000 fine, and up to five years jail time, used to be a routinely handed down punishment for committing the act. A new law signed weeks ago that just took effect makes bigamy a non-prosecutable offence, according to information shared by CNN.
In March of 2020, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the necessary documents that resulted in the downgrading of the act of marriage to multiple spouses to a non-felony. Under the new guidelines, it's only punishable by prison time if committed with other crimes, according to CNN. The new law passed the month previously to the governor's signing with support from Utah's majority.
Current punishments in the U.S. regarding plural marriages vary. Alaska and Hawaii classify the act as a misdemeanor. The first law identifying the act as criminal by the United States Supreme Court was signed over 150 years ago, and included all religious parties.
The majority of state governments in the U.S. still classify bigamy a felony. In other countries who follow Islamic teachings, such as Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, bigamy violates no law in itself.
Governor Herbert is a Utah native who attended Brigham Young University. He took over as the state's governor in 2009, making him the country's longest serving.