Sincerely Held Belief In Publicity Inspires Reality TV Polygamists To Apply For Marriage License
In a move calculated to make every fundagelical family-values type scream "We told you so!" a polygamous Montana guy has applied for a license to marry his second wife, so that she can be just as legally married to him as his other wife. We're quite certain that we should take everything Nathan Collier says about his struggle for freedom, dignity, and equality at face value, because he is a genuine Reality TV star, or at least the focus of a guest appearance on Sister Wives earlier this year. So when he says he was "inspired" by the Supreme Court's great big marriage equality decision last week, then by golly, we know that it's about his sincerely held religious beliefs, and definitely not common famewhoring.
The Associated Press certainly treats the story with the solemnity such a civil rights pioneer deserves:
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."
The county clerk's office denied the application, and then followed up by saying they'd check with the Montana attorney general and get back to Collier. Kevin Gillen, Yellowstone County's chief civil litigator, doesn't seem inclined to offer Collier a lot of optimism:
"I think he deserves an answer," Gillen said, but added his review is finding that "the law simply doesn't provide for that yet."
In a pretty impressive bit of even-handed lede burying, the AP doesn't mention Collier's connection to the reality TV series until the ninth paragraph, after it informs us that the dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts is what Collier says "inspired" him to try legally marrying his second wife, Christine, since Roberts warned that the Court's ruling would set a precedent for legalizing plural marriages. This makes sense to us -- don't most reality TV people spend a lot of time reading Supreme Court dissents? We're pretty sure Honey Boo-Boo had some fascinating insights into just where Citizens United got it all wrong.
So here's the story of Collier's Freedom Struggle, after his legal marriage to his first wife, Victoria, and his church-only wedding to his second, Christine:
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." [...]
"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.
We can see that on a commemorative plate someday, available for a limited time on the Home Shopping Network and sure to become a valuable family heirloom.
Collier says that he's sent a letter asking for legal help from the Montana ACLU in a possible lawsuit, but the group's legal director, Jim Taylor, said he hasn't seen it; Taylor told the AP that he didn't have an opinion on Collier's claims, but added that the Supremes' decision on marriage equality "is about something very different." This is pretty much the cue for Bryan Fischer and the whole Gay Panic Lobby to insist that there's no difference at all, and next you'll have people marrying their pets and their cars (Yr Dok Zoom has no plans to wed Vlad the Impala, at least not until we get some bodywork done and some nice upholstery installed. In the car).
For what it's worth, actual Mormon fundamentalists (who aren't sanctioned by the official LDS church) who practice plural marriage aren't all that hot on the idea of getting the practice instituted in law, because a lot of them are also freaked out by Big Government and are quite happy to have one state-sanctioned marriage -- if that many -- plus a bunch of religious ceremonies; that practice was more or less legitimized by a 2013 federal case that threw out the part of Utah's polygamy law that banned cohabitation, but retained the state's ban on multiple marriage licenses.
Anne Wilde, who co-founded a pro-polygamy group in Utah, told the AP, "Ninety percent or more of the fundamentalist Mormons don't want it legalized, they want it decriminalized," which was largely what resulted from the 2013 ruling, which has been appealed by the state.
Wilde said most polygamous families are satisfied with the judge's ruling and believe taking it further to include multiple marriage licenses would bring them under the unwanted jurisdiction of the government.
She's also hopeful that the recent Supreme Court decision will help the appeals court rule in favor of the decision that tossed the ban on cohabitation, but she didn't address the really important question: Will this help Nathan Collier get back on television?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.