SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A bill that would lessen the penalty for bigamy passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.
Senate Bill 102 would reclassify bigamy as an infraction and classify forced bigamy as a third-degree felony.
Proponents for the bill say it will allow people in polygamous relationships to report abuse to law enforcement without the fear of facing jail time.
Those opposed say it will benefit perpetrators and not victims.
“I would like something in place that would actually help the victims, House Bill 99, House Bill 214, numbers of victims coming out last year was raised by over 55% at holding out help so, they are helping,” said Melissa Ellis who opposes the bill.
“For anyone who is concerned with rape and trafficking and things like that that we hear a lot about those will still make polygamy a felony so I think that it strikes a balance between supporting victims and also supporting otherwise law-abiding polygamist in the state of Utah,” said Dr. Christina Rosetti, who supports the bill.
The bill will now go to the full House for its consideration.
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