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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Judge rules against polygamous couple

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

HELENA, Montana, December 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A bigamist and his two women are fighting Montana's bigamy laws.

Nathan Collier says he was inspired to sue the state to legalize bigamy by the Supreme Court Obergefell decision constitutionalizing homosexual "marriage."

But on Monday, U.S. magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby ruled that Collier cannot file a lawsuit until he and his wife Victoria, and Christine, who has lived with Collier long enough to qualify as his common-law wife, show how the law harms them, or that they have been threatened with prosecution.

Collier sought in June to also legally marry Christine, while still married to Victoria, but Yellowstone County officials denied their bigamous marriage application.

Collier says the state is unconstitutionally preventing him from "legitimizing" his "plural relationship."

Collier's lawsuit argues that the Obergefell ruling establishes a constitutional, fundamental right for consenting adults to marry. Collier says anti-polygamy laws deny him his rights to equal protection, due process, free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association.

"We advocates for the natural family knew that the slope was slippery," Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews. "All the arguments used to insist upon removing the gender requirement from marriage can be applied directly to removing the limit to two and only two partners."

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"We said it long ago, and we were told we were hyperventilating. Now, here are the people making the argument," Dr. Morse added.

"Thank goodness this judge in Montana ruled against them, but this dam will not hold. Sooner or later, the prohibition on plural marriage will be removed," Dr. Morse predicted.

But, Morse concluded, "polygamy as it has always been practiced in actual fact will not be appealing to the Lifestyle Left and the Hedonist Right that are insisting on it now."

The Collier suit also references biblical and historical people who had multiple wives as evidence of polygamy's historical acceptance.

Nathan and Victoria Collier married in 2000, and Nathan and Christine held a "religious" ceremony in 2007. They all live together in Billings, with a total of eight children of various parentages.

Collier was excommunicated from Mormonism for polygamy.

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