Friday, October 26, 2007

Oprah reports on polygamy

Today, Oct. 26, 2007, the Oprah Winfrey show (with reported Lisa Ling) was about polygamy. The link for the show is this. Oprah started the show interviewing a Utah woman who voluntarily had "married" a man that already had two wives. She made the interesting legal point that it is not illegal to have a mistress, but it is illegal to have plural partners and call them "wives." So the crime of bigamy seems more related to semantics than to the actual relationships in the home. That seems to be the important legal point.

She also presented a family in Centential Park, AZ, of a man with more than one "wife" and many children.

Finally, Ms. Ling did a report on the controversial community in Colorado City, AZ, run by Warren Jeffs, who would be convicted in September 2007. One woman from the community told of being raised in total ignorance, and of having no knowledge of her individual rights as she grew up, and her concern that her fourteen year old daughter would soon be forced into involuntary marriage.

I drove through Colorado City, AZ in a rental car in October, 1987, and saw the dorm houses and the women in pastel dresses. Mennonite women in West Texas also had a similar appearance. This trip was during the week that Baby Jessica was rescued from the abandoned well in Midland, TX. On the same trip, I was unable to get coffee (and settled for limeaid) in an LDS-owned restaurant in St. George, UT.

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