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Professor Lisa McElroy Discusses Challenge to Utah Polygamy Law on Southern California Public Radio

July 14, 2011

“Air Talk,” a program on Southern California Public Radio featured a July 13 interview with Professor Lisa McElroy about a new challenge to Utah's anti-polygamy laws.

McElroy discussed a suit filed by the Brown family, who are stars of TLC’s reality show “Sister Wives.” Patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children, are under investigation by Utah police for cohabitating in violation of Utah’s bigamy law. While no charges have been filed by the state, the family filed a federal lawsuit seeking judicial review of Utah’s law, which they claim is unconstitutional.

The Browns could be prosecuted for violating provisions of state law that prohibit individuals from living with multiple spouses and from referring to multiple partners as husbands or wives, McElroy said.

The Browns have a strong case, McElroy said, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the rights of adults to live together outside of matrimony and to engage in private consensual sexual relations.

Bruce Fein, the former associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, also took part in the discussion.

McElroy writes the Plain English column on SCOTUSblog.