Associated Press, Apr. 24, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The leader of one of Utah’s largest polygamist sects has objected to Sen. Rick Santorum’s lumping plural marriage with other practices the Pennsylvania Republican considers to be antifamily.
Santorum has been under fire for comparing homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery.
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In an interview with The Associated Press, Santorum criticized homosexuality while discussing a pending Supreme Court case over a Texas sodomy law.
”If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” Santorum said.
”Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family,” he said.
Owen Allred, 89, head of the United Apostolic Brethren, based in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, agreed with Santorum in part.
”He is absolutely right. The people of the United States are doing whatever they can to do away with the sacred rights of marriage,” Allred said.
But Allred, who was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune in Thursday’s edition, said Santorum’s inclusion of polygamy in his list tarnishes a religious tradition whose roots are traced to biblical figures such as Abraham, Jacob and Moses – defiling them as ”immoral and dirty.”
Polygamy was abandoned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints more than a century ago and it excommunicates members who advocate it, but it is estimated that tens of thousands in Utah continue the practice. Membership estimates for Allred’s church range from 4,000 to 6,000, and there also are a number of independent polygamists loosely affiliated with Allred’s group.