The Utah Supreme Court is scheduled to rule later this morning on a former Hildale police officer’s challenge to the state’s ban on polygamy.
Rodney Holm is appealing bigamy and sex offense convictions that stem from his 1988 “spiritual” marriage to 16-year-old Ruth Stubbs, with whom he had two children. At the time, Holm was 32, legally married to Stubbs’ sister, and had another spiritual wife.
The four were members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which embraces polygamy, and has been traditionally based in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.
Holm was sentenced in 2003 to one year in jail after his conviction in a jury trial, and has since been released.
During arguments before the high court in February 2005, defense attorney Rodney Parker asked the justices to decriminalize polygamy, allowing its adherents to have a legal marriage with a first wife, then enter into religious unions with other women as a way to reach the highest degree of heaven.
Assistant Attorney General Laura Dupaix defended the constitutionality of the Utah bigamy statute. The case is not just about private sexual conduct, she said, but also about “the public institution of marriage.”
The court’s ruling is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. today.