'Sister Wives' Lawsuit Could Change Polygamy Laws

sister wives baby solomonDoes reality TV imitate life or does life imitate reality TV? In the case of Sister Wives, it looks like life may at least be influenced by reality TV: A federal judge ruled that Kody Brown and his family are allowed to sue over the constitutionality of Utah's bigamy law.

Whoa! Is it just me, or is that a pretty huge deal? What started out as a guilty pleasure weekly drama documenting the ups and downs of life in a polygamist household(s) is now potentially powerful enough to make a change in legislation.

Of course the Browns aren't merely speaking for themselves; they represent a demographic we hadn't heard much about until fairly recently.


So maybe it's more about reality TV giving people a voice, particularly those who, for whatever reason, have remained largely silent. (And no, I'm not talking about young tanning addicts with questionable taste. They've always been plenty loud.)

What's ironic is that the Browns have only ended up fighting for their beliefs because they're being forced to fight back. Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn only sued after Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman threatened to prosecute them for practicing polygamy. He never did, but U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups doesn't care. In his ruling, he wrote:

The entirety of actions by the Utah County prosecutors tend to show either an ill-conceived public-relations campaign to showboat their own authority and/or harass the Browns and the polygamist community at large, or to assure the public that they intended to carry out their public obligations and prosecute violations of the law.

So not only is Judge Waddoups taking the Browns seriously, he's also treating them sympathetically. Does this reception have anything to do with the family's status as reality TV stars? We feel like we know the Browns personally -- it's harder to judge a friend or acquaintance than a random name without a face.

Whatever the case, it will definitely be interesting to see which way this lawsuit goes. And whether there are more suits like it in the future ...

Do you think polygamy laws really will change because of Sister Wives?


Image via TLC

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