State of Utah appealing historic Sister Wives polygamy ruling

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The Brown family featured on TLC’s Sister Wives reality series made history last December when their lawsuit claiming Utah’s laws prohibiting polygamy were unconstitutional went before U.S. District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups and he ruled in the Browns’ favor, which essentially legalized cohabitation in the state of Utah. In addition, Judge Waddoups ruled last month “that state officials (notably prosecutor Jeffrey R. Buhman) violated the constitutional rights of the Brown family in years of criminal investigation and public accusations,” as summarized by Brown family attorney Jonathan Turley.

But, the sweeping legal victory for the Brown family is being challenged by the State of Utah, who formally filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday. From Fox 13:

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office filed the notice late Wednesday night, saying it will ask the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to take up the case. Reyes spokeswoman Missy Larsen confirmed to FOX 13 that an appeal would be filed shortly, but said the scope of it has not yet been finalized.

Turley affirmed that he is ready to go another round in a blog entry about the appeal. “We are prepared to defend this and the prior ruling in Denver,” he said. He later added, “It is a rather curious position for the state of Utah in seeking to reverse one of the strongest defenses of religious liberty handed down in decades. This is a discretionary appeal and nothing compelled the state or Mr. Reyes to try to reverse the District Court of Utah. Mr. Reyes takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. The final judgment did precisely that.”

Turley also points out that the Brown family are prepared to continue their legal fight, even if it leads to the steps of the Supreme Court:

The Browns remain entirely committed to fighting to preserve the protections of religion, speech, and privacy established in this case for their family as well as other citizens. As lead counsel, it will be a distinct honor to defend not just the Brown family but this historic decision by Judge Waddoups.

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