House OKs bill targeting polygamy

The House unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that is intended to help combat forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves.

The bill (SB1335), approved 56-0 and modeled after a Utah law, would make it a felony for a married adult to marry a child. Other provisions are aimed at holding parents responsible for forced marriages of their children.

The proposal has already cleared the Senate but now returns there for consideration of changes made by the House.

The Arizona Constitution already prohibits polygamy. But Arizona’s bigamy law addresses only state-sanctioned marriages, not those recognized only by churches.

Polygamy is practiced openly in Colorado City, a remote enclave on the state line with Utah that is dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The sect split from mainstream Mormonism after the broader church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

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