Plaintiffs, the polygamous family featured on the TLC reality series "Sister Wives," sued seeking a declaratory judgment that Utah's ban on plural marriage is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs are members of a religious group that believes polygamy is a core religious practice. Federal district Judge Clark Waddoups held that the portion of the statute barring cohabitation while married to someone else is unconstitutional as a violation of free exercise rights.Concluding that in operation the ban is not applied neutrally, but is primarily used to target religious co-habitation, the court held that the ban is subject to strict scrutiny, and fails that test. Judge Waddoups also concludes that the ban, under a rational basis review, violates plaintiffs' rights to be free from government interference in matters of consensual sexual privacy, and is void for vagueness. In ruling on this portion of the statute, the court said that it was not constrained by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1878 decision in Reynolds v. United States upholding the federal anti-bigamy statute because that decision dealt only with a ban on multiple marriages, not on cohabitation while married.
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