‘Sister Wives’: Could the Browns Face Prosecution in Arizona?

The Brown family seems to be settling in nicely in Flagstaff, Arizona. The family picked the inclusive community thanks to its great weather and open-minded citizens. While the Browns seem happy, some fans are curious about whether they carefully read the polygamy laws in their new state. Radar Online, alleges that legal experts in Arizona believe that footage from Sister Wives could potentially be used to prosecute the plural family, but whether that will actually happen is much more complicated.

Can the Browns be prosecuted in Arizona for their polygamist lifestyle?

While some media outlets suggest that the Brown family could potentially face fines and jail time for their chosen lifestyle in Arizona, it doesn’t look like that is likely to happen. While the Arizona Constitution does have language that prohibits polygamy, the law is rarely utilized. When it is used, it is generally for cases were child abuse or human trafficking is present.

The laws in Arizona are primarily related to bigamy. Bigamy is defined as the act of legally marrying more than one individual. Since Kody Brown is only legally married to Robyn Brown and spiritually married to his other three wives, the family should be in the clear.

Why did the Brown family flee Utah?

Before settling in Arizona, the Browns lived in Utah. They fled under cover of night when it seemed like the state was gearing up to prosecute the family. The Browns went on to sue the state for its anti-polygamy laws.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Bigamy is illegal in all 50 states, but Utah’s laws also have a provision that forbids an individual from cohabitating with more than one romantic partner whether they are legally wed or not. The Brown’s faced prosecution under the cohabitation provision while they were living in Utah. The provision makes the laws in Utah particularly harsh.

How common is polygamy?

While polygamy is seen as an alternative lifestyle by most of America, there are allegedly around 50,000 individuals who practice the principal in the United States alone. In other nations, it is far more common, according to Psychology Today.

While data suggests there are 50,000 plural families in the United States, it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of plural families. Many plural families operate under the radar for fear of legal and social backlash.

Shows like Sister Wives and Seeking Sister Wife has propelled the concept into the mainstream. Shows on the topic may have even helped more American citizens warm to the notion. According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, social acceptance of plural marriage rose from 11% in 2011 to 17% in 2017.