Last week’s historic Supreme Court ruling legalized gay marriage in all 50 states with the argument that “no union is more profound than marriage.” Following that ruling, Montana polygamists Nathan, Christine and Victoria Collier said the same rights should extend to them.
“It’s about marriage equality,” Nathan, who appeared on the last season of TLC’s Sister Wives, told the Associated Press. “You can’t have this without polygamy.”
Nathan said he was inspired by last week’s ruling. He referenced the dissent penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, which said, “Much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”
Nathan, Christine and Victoria applied for a new marriage license that recognizes all three of them at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday. Nathan said the request was initially denied by the county clerk, but officials agreed to consult with the county attorney before making the final decision within the next week.
Currently, bigamy–being married to multiple partners simultaneously–is outlawed in all 50 states. Nathan said the family plans to sue if their request is denied, and they’ve already reached out to the ACLU of Montana for help.
ACLU legal director Jim Taylor told The AP he hasn’t seen the letter from Nathan, but didn’t seem inclined to help, saying the Supreme Court ruling “is about something very different.”
Even Anne Wilde, a co-founder of the polygamy advocacy organization Principle Voices located in Utah, suggested the Colliers are getting ahead of themselves. She explained, “Ninety percent or more of the fundamentalist Mormons don’t want it legalized, they want it decriminalized.”
For the Colliers’ part, Nathan said Christine, his second wife, “deserves the legitimacy” of marriage. “My second wife Christine,” he argued, “who I’m not legally married to, she’s put up with my crap for a lot of years.”
The Colliers’ case is believed to be the first of its kind since the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.