The state of Utah no longer treats bigamy as a crime after downgrading the practice to an infraction – the same level as a parking ticket.
The change in the law, under which “unlawful cohabitation” has been a crime since 1935, is intended to ensure that people living in families and communities that practice so-called “plural marriage” no longer live in fear of the law, which some say has left victims of abuse too afraid of the authorities to seek help and allowed abusers to keep their activities hidden.
Polygamy has been practised in parts of Utah since before the state was founded in 1896, though it was outlawed within the mainstream Mormon church in the early 1900s. The law banning it has gone largely unenforced in recent decades, and it does continue in certain parts of the state mostly among fundamentalist and fringe sects.
The law now taking effect was sponsored by Republican state senator Deidre Henderson, who has long called for decriminalisation on the grounds that the law has not stopped polygamy, but instead enabled abuse by keeping the practice underground.
While I don't think bigamy is the right thing to do, I'm also a big believer that the law needs to stay out of several things. You can't legislate morality - it's a heart & head change that occurs one person at a time.
Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.