WASHINGTON, DC: Just five days after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a right, a Montana polygamist is seeking to file a lawsuit to strike down a state marriage law that limits marriage to two people, so he can marry a second woman. If that means that he can bring polygamous relationships to the national conversation, Collier says he’d be willing to be arrested or sue the state if his license gets denied.
On Tuesday, Nathan and Christine traveled to the Yellowstone County Courthouse to see if they would be awarded the right to marry under the Marriage Equality Act.
Collier’s application was reportedly denied by county clerk officials; however, Yellowstone County Chief Civil Litigator, Kevin Gillen, said he will review state law before giving him a formal response next week. He and Christine were married in a religious ceremony in 2007 but aren’t legally married.
Collier and his wives had previously appeared on TLC’s hit show about a polygamous family Sister Wives.
Collier told the Associated Press: “It’s about marriage equality…”
The Colliers argue that the recent SCOTUS ruling recognizing gay marriage also recognizes polygamy.
Although Collier apparently e-mailed the ACLU of Montana asking for support, ACLU legal director Jim Taylor said he was not aware of any email and had no opinion of Collier’s request. We aren’t asking anybody for anything else. But the clerk returned afterwards, saying that they would refer to the county attorney’s office before making a decision. “We just want legitimacy”.
He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years.
“There’s a spot on there where you put the dissolution date of your previous marriage and we put N/A”, Christine Collier said.
The way Collier, Victoria, and Christine were treated at the courthouse made the family feel “violated”, Collier said. “We are three loving adults working together for a common goal of raising our family and finding our own happiness in the process”.
– John Nolte (@NolteNC) July 2, 2015 I’m cool with it. Cheating, open marriages, and 12 divorces legal, but not polygamy?
Friday’s ruling gave gay men and women the right to marry whom they please.
While it’s unlikely Collier’s request will be granted and the Supreme Court decision did not specifically grant rights for polygamy, these claims are exactly what traditional marriage advocates warned would happen with the legalization of same-sex marriage.
We hope the Supreme Court decision will show the direction the nation is going. They now want government-stamped legitamacy for their union.