VANCOUVER — Utah’s attorney general is keeping an eye on a B.C. court case examining Canada’s polygamy laws, as the state struggles to deal with tens of thousands of fundamentalist Mormons who believe in a marriage.
Utah is the home of the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago, but the Rocky Mountain region of Utah and Arizona is also home to nearly 40,000 fundamentalist Mormons who continue to practice polygamy.
Paul Murphy, a spokesman for the state attorney general, says his office has been following news reports from B.C.’s constitutional hearings and will be particularly interested in what the final verdict is on Canada’s polygamy laws.
Murphy says Utah has been grappling with many of the same issues, although it has taken a different approach when it comes to enforcing the state’s law against polygamy.
Utah and Arizona have together implemented a policy that polygamy will only be prosecuted in cases that also involve allegations of abuse, and they’ve created a group called the Safety Net Committee to work with fundamentalist Mormons to ensure women and children know their rights and have access to help.
Meanwhile, the testimony of women from the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., at the B.C. court case has been delayed and is now scheduled to start on Tuesday.