Polygamous Trio May Sue for Right to Marry

Montana man applies for license, inspired by gay marriage case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 1, 2015 5:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Montana man inspired by last week's Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage has applied for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife. Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings yesterday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy—holding multiple marriage licenses—but Collier says he plans to sue if the application is denied. "It's about marriage equality," Collier says. "You can't have this without polygamy." County clerk officials initially denied the application, then said they would consult with the county attorney's office before giving him a final answer.

Yellowstone County chief civil litigator Kevin Gillen said he is reviewing Montana's bigamy laws and expected to send a formal response to Collier by next week. "I think he deserves an answer," Gillen says, but added his review is finding that "the law simply doesn't provide for that yet." The Supreme Court's ruling made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them. Collier, 46, said that dissent inspired him. He married Victoria, 40, in 2000. He and his second wife, Christine, had a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 but did not sign a marriage license to avoid bigamy charges. (Read more polygamy stories.)

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