Photo Credit: TLC
Putting your polygamist life on TV can lead to some tough consequences. Just ask Kody Brown, the male star of TLC's Sister Wives. When the show hit the air last fall, police and Utah County prosecutors launched a bigamy investigation. Though no charges were ever filed, the legal wrangling and media hype took its toll on the family. Now, according to their lawyer's email to the Associated Press, the Browns are heading to court to challenge their state's right to prosecute people for their personal beliefs.
The fact is, Kody Brown, 43, isn't actually legally married to four women. The Mormon advertising salesman is only legally hitched to one wife, 39-year-old Meri. Though he considers himself wed to the three other women in his life -- Janelle, 40, Christine, 37, and Robyn, 31, -- he's technically just living with them. But in Utah, even cohabitation can be defined as bigamy, and it's a third-degree felony.
Whatever your views on polygamy, a law that prohibits living with your significant other does sound pretty intrusive. Activists for alternative marriage pointed this out last year when the police probe first began. "This just shows all the more reason the crime needs to be reduced... so that this doesn't happen to consenting adults," Anne Wilde, cofounder of the plural marriage advocacy group Principle Voices, told The Salt Late Tribune. "We have a right to form our families in the way we select, just like all the other alternative-lifestyle families in the U.S. -- which, by the way, are more than 50 percent of all families."
Now, the Browns are using their public platform to challenge this outdated law. "We only wish to live our private lives according to our beliefs," Kody Brown said in a statement. He hopes to protect the family -- which also includes 16 children -- from future prosecution.
Brown has always said that promoting awareness about bigamy laws was one of his main motivations for doing the show -- and now, it seems, he'll see if the show can act as a catalyst for change.