ST. GEORGE – Attorney General Sean Reyes said Tuesday that he still plans to appeal a Federal District Court Judge’s ruling that overturned a clause in the state’s anti-bigamy law, but that he cannot do so until the decision is finalized in court.
A Dec. 13 ruling by U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, which overturned the state’s cohabitation clause in its anti-bigamy statute, has yet to be implemented because of procedural issues. Once those issues are cleared up, Waddoups’ decision will be entered as judgment and Reyes can then file an appeal on behalf of the state. Even though Waddoups’ decision is not in jeopardy, there is no judgment yet to appeal.
“We cannot appeal something that hasn’t been finalized in court,” Ryan Bruckman, deputy communications director for the attorney general, said.
The landmark decision came after reality TV star Kody Brown, his wife, and three “spiritual” wives filed suit in 2011 against the state after a county prosecutor threatened to charge them under the state’s bigamy law.
Brown and the women moved to Las Vegas, where they continue to live and film their weekly television show, TLC’s “Sister Wives.”
Part of the original suit claimed damages from the state. Attorneys for Brown and the women claim it cost the family more than $200,000 to relocate after the alleged threat.
However, Brown and the women have since decided they will no longer ask the court to be paid back for those expenses, although they reserved the right to ask for attorney fees associated with the lawsuit.
They now say the focus of the case should be on the court’s historic ruling and not their insular losses associated with the criminal investigation and public comments of the state. To that end, they will not ask for repayment of their moving costs, loss of contracts, or other expenses detailed in the prior filings. They ask, however, that the court find in their favor under and ask for the court to issue the final order with the previously requested injunctive and declaratory relief.
Reyes’ office is also involved in another appeal with the Federal District Court, challenging its decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief contributed to this report.
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