Utah has enacted a law abolishing criminal liability for bigamy

The law, effectively repealing criminal liability for bigamy, entered into force in the state of Utah.

For decades bigamia was a criminal offense of the third degree, according to the law punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $5000. The new law makes it an administrative violation, as, for example, wrong Parking or speeding.

The bill was signed by Governor Gary Herbert in March and came into force on Tuesday, may 12.

Polygamy was practiced in Utah by some religious groups even before it became a state, and continues to exist to this day.

Although the practice has long been illegal, the General Prosecutor of the state of Utah refused to prosecute for these crimes, except in cases when they committed along with other crimes. The new law makes the policy of the attorney General official.

Sound Choices, a nonprofit organization that opposes polygamy, condemned the decriminalization of bigamy, when the bill was passed in February.

«It’s disgusting for us, many of the victims of polygamy and other inhabitants of Utah, who recognize that religious polygamy is the cause of many serious human rights violations, noted in the organization. – Most women in such families are treated as property, forced to work without pay, to engage in unwanted sex and to give birth to numerous children they cannot take care of.»

The organization called the bill a step toward legalizing the practice of polygamy.