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I can understand that polygamy is illegal. However, some people think that it's simply illegal in a sense that government doesn't recognize it.

It's like Sarah can marry anyone she wish but she can't force Bob to celebrate her marriage with Charlie kind of thing. So perhaps Sarah, Janette, Cindy, can all marry Donny but they can't force government to recognize it.

So what about if a few guys live together with one girl or the other way around? What about if they call each other husband and wife but do not get government recognition.

What laws would get them in trouble?

5

None.

Who you live with & how you live with them are (generally) your business. All laws against polygamy do is impose sanctions if you legally register more than one marriage; legally the first registered is a marriage, all the others are a nullity. This may influence the legal resolution of criminal and civil disputes amount the cohabitants as the law treats married people differently from unmarried.

If you want to have a relationship between 3+ consenting adults you can call it whatever you like. All the law does is restrict legal marriage to non-overlapping pairs.

  • That's what you think and that's what I guess. I am just trying to make sure. I've heard there are laws against cohabiting too. Multiple people cannot cohabits. – user4951 Jan 31 '16 at 1:13
  • Really? Explain military barracks? – Dale M Jan 31 '16 at 1:17
  • There are such laws in Utah I think. – user4951 Jan 31 '16 at 1:19
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    The charge of "unlawful cohabitation" was used in the late nineteenth century to enforce the Edmunds Act, and other federal anti-polygamy laws against the Mormons in the Utah Territory, imprisoning more than 1,300 men.[24] However, incidents of cohabitation by non-polygamists were not charged in that territory at that time. Some modern scholarship suggests the Edmunds Act may be unconstitutional for being in violation of the Free Exercise Clause,[25] – user4951 Jan 31 '16 at 1:22
  • There were also laws in the nineteenth century that made slavery legal. How is that relevant today? – Dale M Jan 31 '16 at 6:44

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