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Polygamy “opens up a whole can of legal worms that is not really opened with the same sex marriage issue,” said Stanford University constitutional law expert Jane Schacter. She noted that polygamy throughout history has been associated with underage marriages and child sex abuse.

Regardless of whether there are polygamous relationships among consenting adults where no other crimes are occurring, that historical stigma persists, she said.

“It’s not an issue I think will be laughed out of court, but I don’t think it is poised for a victory at this point,” Schacter added. “Contemporary law under the First Amendment regarding the exercise of religion is just not very friendly to the claims of polygamists.”