"Why Just Have One?" : An Evaluation of the Anti-Polygamy Laws under the Establishment Clause
Houston Law Review
The author examines the history of the 19th-century laws and court cases enacted against polygamy. She reasons that these laws and decisions were clearly not neutral, but were aimed at extinguishing the practice of polygamy in the Mormon Church. She notes that both Sunday-closing laws and anti-polygamy laws were both religiously motivated, but the anti-polygamy laws do not have a secular purpose. The author notes many positive aspects in modern polygamous lifestyles and concludes that the 1879 Reynolds decision should be overturned. She submits that some of the same abuses that have received media attention in polygamous families are also present in traditional families: "an entire religious belief should not be suppressed simply because of a few bad actors."