The Supreme Court decision decriminalizing sodomy led a Utah man with five wives to argue in court Dec. 1 that his bigamy convictions should be dismissed, reported the Associated Press.
In June, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas sodomy law, ruling that what homosexual men and women do in the privacy of their homes is no business of government.
It's no different for polygamists, argued Tom Green's attorney, John Bucher, to the Utah Supreme Court. Bucher argued that the state has no interest in what consenting adults do in their own home and they should be allowed to do as they please, reported the AP. “It doesn't bother anyone," Bucher said.
The state said the court should reject the appeal because Green failed to raise the issue during his trial more than two years ago or anywhere else along the judicial path since then, said the AP.
Green was convicted of four counts of bigamy and one count of criminal nonsupport of his 30 children in August 2001. In addition to his five-year sentence, he faces up to life in prison after being convicted of child rape for having sex with one of his five wives when she was 13.
The case raises a red flag for some legal experts who say that the Supreme Court ruling, which is now being used in the case of polygamy, could be used as a line of defence for other sexual offenders.
Assistant Utah Attorney General Laura Dupaix said that the Green case is really about a man “who marries young girls and calls it religion.” Green is not affiliated with any church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890 as part of a deal to grant Utah statehood, and the church now excommunicates those members who practice or advocate it. Polygamy has an estimated 30,000 practitioners in the West.