The Salt Lake Tribune 12 February 2020
Family First Comment: As we predicted would happen….
Remove the gender. Why not the number?
“Ora Barlow, who was raised in a polygamous community, said she realized that all her life she had been thought of as property but the law was on her side. “The law is there for a reason,” Barlow said. “And it’s for people like me who feel trapped.””
Draper shared her story Monday with members of the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee, which voted unanimously to endorse a bill that would effectively decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults.
She testified alongside the bill’s sponsor, Spanish Fork Republican Sen. Deidre Henderson, who argued to her Senate colleagues that the state’s current law classifying polygamy as a felony is unenforceable absent other crimes.
But several members of the public, including former polygamists, spoke against SB102 during Monday’s hearing.
Easton Harvey, with the anti-polygamy Sound Choices Coalition, said criminalization is a social policy for all of Utah. And the reason that members of a polygamous community are afraid to report crimes is not because they’ll be charged as criminals by outsiders, he said, but because of the fear of being ostracized from within or subject to divine punishment.
“The primary reason they do not report crimes is because of a weaponized God,” Harvey said, “because of weaponized scripture, because they’re trying to protect their priesthood.”
Angela Kelly, Sound Choices Coalition director, compared polygamy to organized crime and slavery. To ease the criminal penalties, she said, would encourage more people to live that way.
“To bring it down to an infraction, you’re essentially saying this is an OK lifestyle,” Kelly said. “And it might be for 10 people, but we’re talking about society as a whole.”
Ora Barlow, who was raised in a polygamous community, said she felt free when the leaders of her church were imprisoned and prosecuted. She realized that all her life she had been thought of as property, she said, but the law was on her side.
“The law is there for a reason,” Barlow said. “And it’s for people like me who feel trapped.”
If the SB102 becomes law, polygamy among consenting adults would be reduced to an infraction — a level below many traffic offenses. Infractions in Utah carry no jail time. Punishments can be fines of up to $750 and community service.
READ MORE: https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2020/02/11/bill-decriminalize/