Chris's article

A 60-year-old pastor has married his pregnant teenage girlfriend - with the blessing of his first wife.

Thom Miller met his first wife, 44-year-old Belinda, who had seven children from a previous marriage, eight years ago.

But having discussed polygamy after Mrs Miller suggested finding another woman to be part of the family, the pair from Mansfield, Ohio, decided to welcome 19-year-old Reba Kerfootruba into their relationship.

Speaking to Barcroft TV, Mr Miller said he was a friend of Ms Kerfootruba's family and knew her when she was younger.
He said the couple bumped into her while volunteering at the church and she moved into their home shortly after.

Mr Miller said: “I’ve known Reba for a long time, then she moved away and I hadn’t seen her for years. 
"When she hugged me, it wasn’t a normal hug and I wanted to keep hugging her and I realised, wow, I’m really appreciating this woman.”

Belinda said: "I wanted to have more of a family, I wanted to be complete, and having another lady in the house not only makes our family as a whole, but individually it's a beautiful thing because it's like having a sister around."

The pair married at the his church - exactly seven years after Thom married Belinda,

Mr Miller is now fighting to have his marriage recognised by the state, pointing to the fact that gay marriage is now legal there.

"I have no problem with homosexuals but I think it's wrong that their marriage is now recognised by the state but my second marriage is not," he said.

“This is America and my wives and I have the right to live anyway we please- providing we’re not hurting anybody.

”The trio believe the Bible supports polygamy, although Reba's family were initially against the relationship.

“At first, my family thought that what we were doing was not right because of him being married," she said.

“But they started to come around as they realised I’m happy.

The new family plan to raise the baby together as a whole family.

“The baby will have two moms which I’m ok with”, Reba said.

They explained Mr Miller only shares his bedroom with one wife at a time, with the pair taking turns.

Belinda said: "Thom is the love of my life and Reba is the blessing of my life so it all works."

A former mafia enforcer, Mr Miller said he turned his life around after reading the Bible in prison, where he was serving a seven-year sentence for stabbing a man in a bar fight.

Source: Independent

'No one who comes to us has the right to put their cultural roots, or their religious beliefs, above our laws,' says justice minister

Germany is to end its unofficial tolerance of polygamy - including marriages involving minors, the country's justice minister has vowed.

Heiko Maas said the move was designed to prevent people in Germany committing to more than one marriage.

“No one who comes to us has the right to put their cultural roots, or their religious beliefs, above our laws,” Mr Maas told Bild newspaper.

“For that reason multiple marriages cannot be recognised in Germany.”

Polygamy is a criminal offence in Germany, but Bild alleged German authorities “often look the other way” if a migrant brings several wives to the country.

Mr Maas said arranged marriages also needed to be addressed, especially in cases where underage girls were involved.

“We cannot tolerate forced marriages,” he said.

According to Unicef, there are 39,000 child marriages every day in the world.

Authorities are unable to register more than one wife to the same man, which has proved difficult and causes other problems such as listing other wives as single mothers and the distribution of inheritance.

In 2013, Germany’s president Joachim Gauck became an honorary godfather to a baby of a couple where the man had more than one wife. Under the law, parents can apply for the status if they have seven children as part of the president’s duties to support families with multiple children.

A Christian Democratic Union MP called for the president to renounce the title on the grounds of polygamy being illegal.

Polygamy, where a man has multiple wives, is legal in much of the Muslim world including the Middle East, Indonesia, and almost all of Africa.

In 2015, India’s Supreme Court ruled out polygamy for Muslims, stating it was not a fundamental right for followers of the religion. Having more than one wife is illegal in US, but is still quite widely practiced in Utah, where there are said to be around 30,000 polygamists.

Society tells us being a heterosexual in a closed monogamous relationship with a legal contract to prove it is the ideal. With the divorce rate hovering around 45% one has to wonder how valuable this path is to follow. Funny enough, with marriage equality recently passing nationwide in the US, more people waiting for marriage later in life, and attitudes about alternative relationships shifting, the divorce rate is decreasing. This is because people today are not only waiting for marriage they are also open to more honest and possibly ‘open’ relationships of some form. Living a life with a partner/s that suits the true desires of all involved naturally leads to better life satisfaction and overall happiness 
So what are the options? What relationship could be right for you? Here are a few basic concepts to consider. 
Closed Monogamy: This will likely remain the top choice for decades to come because no amount of imagination will convince many people it isn’t the best option. People that can remain faithful and honest to their partner for life can find this is a very happy existence with many benefits. There will be less exposure to outside issues and a legal contract (Marriage) between the two will help with major life decisions if the other becomes incapable. The ‘good ole-fashioned’ married life can absolutely be wonderful for two people that are committed to the lifestyle and to each other. 
Open Relationship: In an open relationship a partner is free to have sexual relationships outside of their core relationship. This may or may not include ‘dating’ outside of the core relationship but sexual activity is acceptable and can either be something you tell each other or respect one and the others privacy. The benefit here is that maintaining sexual freedom gives an individual the feeling of self determination and two people that love each other and want a life together aren’t always ideal sexual partners. This is a great way to build a life with someone of differing sexual persuasions or for two people that are not interested in sexual fidelity to any individual. Being honest and straightforward about your shifting boundaries and willing to compromise when needed is vital to maintaining a healthy open relationship. 
Closed Polyamorous: A group of three or more people that choose to be together in a committed fashion can make for some exciting times, but keep in mind, it’s not all about sex. If a group has decided to be closed they can ‘date’ new people together, or not at all, depending on the desires of the collective. There are more feelings to work with because the more you add to the group the more possible feelings that could be hurt. Everyone involved has to be given a voice and full respect of their feelings. This style of relationship is becoming far more common in our day. People use the word ‘polygamy’ to describe many of these relationships, but polyandry can also apply, or no defining term at all is necessary. A relationship is what you make it. Legally a group of people cannot be bonded together in a marriage but two people within a group can marry if they wish. 
Many polyamorous people however do not care to concern themselves with legal contracts to define their relationships. 
Open Polyamorous: A person can feel close to many people sexually and emotionally but never develop a desire for full commitment to a person or group. They may have a few groups they date or even a core group that is still allowed to date others. They may have a core relationship with one person but are allowed to date others and have relationships without limitations with others while maintaining their core relationship. Open and polyamorous is wide open for each individual to define for themselves. This can be the toughest poly lifestyle to have or maintain but it can also be the most rewarding if handled well. It requires a great deal of honesty, understanding, respect, and forgiving. It is nearly guaranteed to bring situations where jealousy will creep in and you have to remember what you’re dealing with. 
Gay or bisexual situations can apply to any of these according to what suits the people involved. Judgment of anyone living honestly in whatever lifestyle they feel they belong is to be avoided, shunned, and/or ignored if it’s directed at you. Modern society has come a long way into accepting ‘alternative lifestyles’ and we are all better off for it. It’s important to make sure you never contribute to any regression by imposing your ill will onto others with your words or behavior. Check out this previous article on dealing with bullies. 
The poly life is not for everyone. If feelings of jealousy are too overwhelming and the thought of multiple partners absolutely turns you off it is not recommended to try and involve yourself in an open lifestyle, plural relationship, or any poly situation. Dating a happy group or open person while being uncomfortable with the entire idea is not just some fun for you. It can hurt a lot of people that take their relationships seriously. On the other hand, if you think joining a group to date or starting one sounds exciting I recommend checking out ​Sister Wives online. It’s a dating site and online community of like-minded poly people. When you find the lifestyle that would make you happiest the possibilities to share that joy are endless. It is no longer necessary to subscribe to only doing as told. Explore your truth and enjoy life to its fullest!

Published By:
Christopher Alesich

Written By: Mark Kennedy - for Sister Wives: Poly Dating Website

PHOENIX (AP) — A jury verdict against two polygamous towns in Arizona and Utah for discriminating against nonbelievers now puts the future of the communities in the hands of a judge who will have to remedy the sweeping civil rights violations.

Federal authorities haven't specified the changes they'll seek in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, but the judge has several options, including disbanding the towns' shared police force, one of the targets in the Monday's verdict.

Former church member Richard Holm, who was arrested by local police for trespassing on a property to which he held the title, said the jury's decision would be hollow if the judge doesn't disband the Colorado City Marshal's Office and instead put county sheriffs in charge. "For there ever to be a decent community, there's gotta be new faces, new control," Holm said.

The jury concluded the towns violated the constitutional rights of nonbelievers by denying them basic services such as police protection, building permits and water hookups. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland is expected to order changes to the communities in the coming months.

The trial marks one of boldest efforts by the government to confront what critics have long said was a corrupt regime in the neighboring communities. It provided a rare glimpse into the communities that for years have been shrouded in secrecy and are distrustful of government and outsiders.

The jury awarded $2.2 million to Holm and five other residents for emotional distress as a result of housing discrimination, but the towns will have to pay only $1.6 million because of a settlement in that part of the case that was reached while the jury was deliberating.

Other possible remedies that Holland could order include barring town officials from discriminating, requiring fair-housing training for town employees and having a court-appointed official monitor whether the town is complying with court's orders.

The possibility of disbanding the marshal's office was raised earlier by the state of Arizona in a separate housing discrimination case against Colorado City, though that case's judge kept the police force intact.

Town leaders will abide by whatever changes are ordered by the judge, Colorado City attorney Jeff Matura said, but the government's actions won't change people's religious beliefs.

"There is nothing that the government can do or really should be able to do to change someone's faith," Matura said.

The towns were accused of doing the bidding of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism, which disavowed polygamy more than 100 years ago. The trial came as the federal government waged fights on multiple fronts to rein in church activities.

A grand jury in Utah has indicted several church leaders on charges of food stamp fraud.

The U.S. Labor Department has a separate action against a ranch with ties to the church over a pecan harvest in which prosecutors allege that children were forced to work long hours with few breaks.

During the civil rights case, the Justice Department said town employees assisted the group's leader when he was a fugitive and took orders from church leaders about whom to appoint to government jobs.

They say local police ignored the food stamp fraud scheme and marriages between men and underage brides.

Jurors concluded officers treated nonbelievers inequitably when providing police protection, arrested them without having probable cause and made unreasonable searches of their property.

One woman who was denied a water connection testified that she had to haul water to her home and take away sewage for six years. A former sect member said police ignored hundreds of complaints of vandalism on his horse property because he was no longer part of the church.

The towns deny the allegations and say the government is persecuting town officials because it disapproves of their religion.

"If this was any other community in America, this would not be happening at this level," Hildale attorney Blake Hamilton said after the verdict. "The scrutiny these communities have been under is just unprecedented."

A new study commissioned by the federal government recommends that Canada legalize polygamy and change legislation to help women and children living in plural relationships.

The paper by three law professors at Queen's University in Kingston argues that a Charter challenge to Section 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy might be successful, said Beverley Baines, one of the authors of the report.

"The polygamy prohibition might be held as unconstitutional," Ms. Baines said in an interview last night.

"The most likely Charter [of Rights and Freedoms] challenge would be brought by people claiming their freedom of their religion might be infringed. Those living in Bountiful would say polygamy is a religious tenet."

The possibility of a Charter challenge to polygamy laws has added significance since Paul Martin pledged this week that the first act of a new Liberal government would be to remove the federal government's ability to use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override Supreme Court decisions dealing with Charter rights.

Polygamy has been practised for more than 60 years in Bountiful, in southeastern B.C. Last year, the RCMP launched an investigation into allegations of child abuse and sexual exploitation within the fundamentalist Mormon community of 1,000 people. No charges have ever been laid.

The Martin government commissioned the $150,000 study into the legal and social ramifications of polygamy just weeks before it introduced divisive same-sex marriage legislation. Same-sex marriage was approved last June.

Critics said at the time that the study underscored a deep concern in the federal government that legalized homosexual marriage could lead to constitutional challenges from minority groups who claim polygamy as a religious right.

"In order to best prepare for possible debate surrounding Canada's polygamy policy, critical research is needed," a Status of Women Canada document said last year.

"It is vital that researchers explore the impacts of polygamy on women and children and gender equality, as well as the challenges that polygamy presents to society."

Sayd Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, said last year that he opposes same-sex marriage, but said if it is legalized in Canada, polygamists would be within their rights to challenge for their choice of family life to be legalized.

"This is a liberally minded country with regards to equal rights, and literally millions live common law," Mr. Ali said.

Multiple marriage is legal in most Muslim countries, he said. But Muslim men who take more than one wife must prove to local courts that they are capable of treating them all equally, Mr. Ali said.

Chief author of the report Martha Bailey told The Canadian Press that criminalizing polygamy serves no good purpose.

"Why criminalize the behaviour?" she said. "We don't criminalize adultery.

"In light of the fact that we have a fairly permissive society, why are we singling out that particular form of behaviour for criminalization?, Ms. Bailey told The Canadian Press.

Ms. Baines said polygamy is rarely prosecuted. "No one is actually being prosecuted but the provision is still being used in the context of immigration and refugee stuff. People are not being admitted to the country."

She said removing it from the Criminal Code will not force marriage laws to recognize it, but would only remove criminal sanctions.

The report -- commissioned by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada and written by Ms. Baines, Bita Amani and Ms. Bailey -- also says the criminalization of polygamy does not address the harms that women in polygamous relationships face and suggests Canadian laws be changed to better serve women by providing them spousal support and inheritance rights.

"They are denied access to our divorce law.... You have a great deal of difficulty claiming your rights with access to children, custody of children and financial support for the children," she said. "We are starting to make accommodations for some small things in some of the provinces [such as] extending support law to women and children in any kind of marriage.

"Polygamous marriages are legal in some countries. They come to Canada, the vast majority of them will not know the law and they have no legal protection. They could be prosecuted. Suddenly, they're living in fear."

Polygamy, outlawed in Canada but accepted in many countries, typically means a man having several wives at the same time.


Source: Legalize Polygamy

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