Facing Divorce? See what steps you can take to protect what's yours.
Divorce Home » Divorce Laws in Your State

The History of Bigamy and Polygamy Laws in Utah

Share this article



Filing for Divorce is not always an easy decision, but it must be done before any legal remarriage can take place. Each state has different laws governing marriage and divorce and knowing your rights is key. In the state of Utah and Arizona, bigamy and polygamy are more common practices, but they are both illegal in all 50 states. Check out this visual guide to The History of Bigamy and Polygamy Laws in Utah.

Click to Launch the Visual Guide to The History of Bigamy and 

Polygamy Laws in Utah

Embed the infographic above to your site with the HTML below

Bigamy and Polygamy: Laws in Utah: The History of the Bee State

Utah bigamy by the numbers

  • An estimated 38,000 people engaged in bigamy in Utah today!
  • 1890 the year the official LDS church denounced polygamy

Polygamy compounds versus their States

Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona are home to large fundamentalist LDS sects who practice polygamy.

Here we compare the prominent polygamous cities with the rest of the state.

  • Utah Hildale, Colorado City Arizona
  • Resident Median Age 13, 27, 14, 34
  • Average family size 8.1, 3.57, 7.58, 3.18
  • Per Capita Income $4,782, $18,185, $5,293, $20,275

The Constitution of the State of Utah

  • Article 3 Section 1 - No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.
  • The Utah Penal Code- 103-51-2 - Chapter 112 of the Utah Penal Code - If any person cohabits with more than one person of the opposite sex, such person is guilty of a felony.

Famous Prosecutions

Short Creek Raid

In 1953, Arizona police officers raided the Fundamentalist LDS community at Short Creek and arrested some 150 adults accused of being polygamists. The raid also took 263 children into custody creating a negative media frenzy that put major polygamy prosecutions on hold in Utah.

State v. Green

In 2001, Utah resident Tom Green was prosecuted for having five wives with 29 children total as well as divorcing young mothers and taking their welfare checks. He was convicted of 4 counts of bigamy in Utah’s first major bigamy trial in 50 years. He was also later convicted of child rape.

State v. Holm

In 2006, the Utah Supreme Court upheld the Utah constitutional clause forbidding polygamy. Rodney Holm was charged with engaging in a "spiritual marriage" with the sister of his current wife. In a 5 to 4 decision, the court dismissed Holm’s defense that consenting adults enjoy the freedom to define their relationships in the confines of their homes and private lives.

This infographic was provided by Total Divorce.