Sunday, May 11, 2008

Texas to test "Polygamy" law.

Of course not all Polygynists are LDS or FLDS or some "mormon splinter group." The practitioners and advocates that I know are all "Messianic" Jews or Mainline Christians. Messianic Jews by the way do not believe in calling themselves Christian, but believe as Christians do, that Jesus bar Joseph of Bethlehem by way of Nazareth is the Messiah. Then there is the "House of Yahweh."

The Dallas Morning News - "73-year-old (Yisrayl 'Buffalo Bill' Hawkins) was arrested and indicted in February – less than two months before raids on the Eldorado compound – charged with four counts of promoting bigamy, made a felony in 2005 after the unrelated FLDS group arrived from Utah.

'This will probably be the first case of its kind,' said Callahan County Attorney Shane Deel, who began investigating the House of Yahweh after taking office in 2005."

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff may be reluctant to prosecute polygamy as bigamy, saying the law is likely "unconstitutional" but nothing scares Texas.

"Shannon Edmonds, director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, believes that the Callahan County case will be the first prosecution of a polygamy suspect under the strengthened bigamy statutes.

'They can be very difficult cases to prove because there is no CSI-type evidence. There's no blood. There's no DNA,' Mr. Edmonds said.

And for groups like the House of Yahweh, there are typically no marriage certificates filed in the courthouse."

I can tell Shannon right away what the problem will be, there is no law against having a mistress or two or three and because this strange group does not register it's marriages, Texas is not free to regard men and women who engage in "private sexual conduct" as married. They have the additional problem that sect members are denying that the women are wives. In any case it's a free speech issue. I can lie if I want to in my public statements not made in court, in fact political lying is protected speech. If sect members will not "own up." Callahan County Attorney Shane Deel says;

"If we thought the worst thing [Mr. Hawkins] had done is to have however many wives he's got, it might not be such a terribly big deal. But he's destroyed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people, and so that makes the criminal conduct we can prove a bit more serious."

The don't like him so they're using the polygamy issue to get him. Why?

"If he goes to prison, I think the sect itself will slowly but surely dissolve," (said Deel).

Strike at the leader and the flock will scatter.

To be fair the article does seem to indicate that the sect has more to be worried about in terms of real abuse than the unrelated FLDS. Nevertheless, there are striking parallels in terms of Texas law enforcement and CPS behavior. The case though may result in a text for polygamy laws that may render the relationships legal in the sense that the law must recognize that such people are married, and cannot discriminate against a polygamous marriage.

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