A bill which would drastically reduce the penalty for polygamy overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
The legislation reduces the criminal penalty for plural marriages from a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to an infraction, equivalent to a parking ticket.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the controversial bill cleared the House on a vote of 70-3, sending it back to the Utah Senate for another vote, where it will likely pass for a second time. The measure would then go to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature.
Those in support of the bill claim the purpose is to assist victims of abuse in polygamist communities too afraid to seek help for fear of prosecution.
Rep. Lowry Snow, who presented the bill to the House floor, said, “That fear of prosecution and losing children remains to the point that even in the face of law violations, they are afraid to come forward and report them.”
Some have suggested the bill is the inevitable result of the Supreme Court’s legal redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, and perhaps rightly so.
If “love is love” was a sufficient enough reason to redefine marriage for same-sex couples, then it’s a sufficient enough reason to redefine the institution for throuples and quadruples.
If “love” is the only qualifier, and if we dare not impose our own definition of love on others, then what meaningful basis do we have to prevent anyone from calling any union “marriage” provided they deem it “love”? What basis do we have to deny them equal recognition?
If “love” is the only criteria for marriage, where do we draw the line? The problem is, once we do away with the objective moral boundaries of a Christian worldview, we’re left with institutions with fluid and arbitrary boundaries.
The ultimate end is obvious: the abolition of marriage. If “love is love” is the qualifier, and “love” is a matter of one’s own personal experience, never to be questioned by others, what protects the institution from being redefined beyond all meaning? Once something means everything, it actually means nothing.