Polygamous Montana trio applies for wedding license
A Montana man said Wednesday that he was inspired by last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife.
Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy — holding multiple marriage licenses — but Collier said he plans to sue if the application is denied.
"It's about marriage equality," Collier told The Associated Press Wednesday. "You can't have this without polygamy."
County clerk officials initially denied Collier's application, then said they would consult with the county attorney's office before giving him a final answer, Collier said.
Yellowstone County chief civil litigator Kevin Gillen said he is reviewing Montana's bigamy laws and expected to send a formal response to Collier by next week.
"I think he deserves an answer," Gillen said, but added his review is finding that "the law simply doesn't provide for that yet."
What does the ACLU say?
Collier said he is a former Mormon who was excommunicated for polygamy and now belongs to no religious organization. He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years, but became tired of hiding and went public by appearing on the reality cable television show "Sister Wives."Bigot! Bigot! Bigot! The Supreme Court was very clear:
The three have seven children of their own and from previous relationships.
"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," he said.
Collier said he sent an email asking the ACLU of Montana to represent him in a possible lawsuit. ACLU legal director Jim Taylor said he has not seen the request.
Taylor said he has no opinion on Collier's claims, though the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage "is about something very different."
The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.The Emperor had hundreds of wives.
The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. Confucius taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government.