Two competing bills, one that supports gay adoption rights and one that favors heterosexual parenting, both failed to pass during this year’s legislative session — but lawmakers are still fighting to make polygamy a felony.
Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, introduced a bill competing against Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City’s HB382, which would support heterosexual adoptions. Romero hoped that HB234 would give the same adoption rights for homosexual parents, but in the end, neither bill passed this legislative session.
During the final moments of the Utah Legislature, many bills did not pass including one that would make polygamy into a third-degree felony.
HB281 threatened practicing polygamists by making bigamy into a felony. However, during its final hearing, the bill was initially discarded along with hundreds of other bills that did not pass.
An anti-polygamy group called Sound Choices Coalition released a statement to express their disappointment about HB281.
“Since the harms of polygamy far outweigh any perceived ‘rights’ to engage in its practice, Sound Choices Coalition is disappointed in Utah’s decision to keep polygamy decriminalized,” the group said. “Our organization will continue to move forward in advocating for victims of polygamy.”
Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, the bill’s sponsor was aiming to limit criminal liability and save money for Utah taxpayers with this bill. He explained that prosecutors will only prosecute bigamy or polygamy if fraud or abuse is going on.
Polygamists feel that since gay marriage has been passed, that polygamy should be an acceptable form of practiced marriage.
“The polygamy community believes that since we passed same-sex marriage, they should be allowed to practice their form of marriage,” Noel said.