New Church selected then to disregard regulations

The newest Courtroom performed consider as to even though Reynolds may use their faith just like the a safety, given that Reynolds got contended one to, while the a beneficial Mormon, it was his spiritual obligations to apply polygamy

Although it y is a very common practice throughout the Mormon faith, and this the Mormon faith have supported polyandry during history, the fact is that the Mormon people do not behavior polygamy, however, think about it to-be a significant offense against the regulations of your own home, and contrary to the laws of the gospel.

Polyandry Analogy that Set Courtroom Precedent

George Reynolds belonged to the Church regarding God Christ off Second-Time Saints (the fresh new “Mormon” Church) as he was faced with bigamy into the 1874. The fresh new LDS Chapel felt during the time your Morrill Anti-Bigamy Work out-of 1862 try unconstitutional, because it refused the fresh new Church’s players the authority to behavior their religion freely by permitting these to features several spouses, which was section of its faith. The fresh new Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act try a rules, closed by President Abraham Lincoln, one to blocked polygamy, and limited the degree of church- and you will low-profit-possessed areas so you’re able to a max value of $fifty,100.

Because Utah try a far-flung nest, and Lincoln had his hands complete for the strong Civil War, regulations was not implemented. The cause of new fees against Reynolds are he elia Jane Schofield as he was still .

Reynolds are being employed as an assistant with the president of one’s LDS Chapel during the time. At the same time, the new Church’s governing body agreed to help the You.S. Supreme Courtroom which have a test circumstances who would help dictate the brand new constitutionality of anti-bigamy laws by providing new Court with an effective offender. Reynolds offered to serve as you to definitely accused, to evaluate whether or not the law violated this new people’s Very first Amendment liberties. Then he provided to this new You.S. Lawyer several witnesses whom you may attest to the fact that Reynolds performed in fact provides one or two wives, and therefore he had been indicted getting bigamy of the a grand Jury in the Oct from 1874.

Reynolds tried to have the trial judge show brand new jury you to definitely once they believed he had enough time bigamy towards the sole mission out-of pursuing the his religion, then have to be located not liable. But not, new legal declined their consult and alternatively educated new jury that once they learned that Reynolds, under the influence of their faith:

“… on purpose hitched another time, having a primary girlfriend traditions, brand new require regarding awareness regarding worst purpose-the newest want away from wisdom to the their part that he try committing crime-failed to excuse your, nevertheless laws inexorably, in such cases, implies violent intent.”

  • It absolutely was his responsibility, according to his faith, so you can endment safe his spiritual methods
  • You to their huge jury had not been legally constituted (good according to the law)
  • One to demands that were brought up by the certain jurors had been improperly overruled because of the court
  • That any testimony given is inadmissible due to the fact that it had been considering upwards not as much as some other indictment

The latest Utah Territorial Supreme Court disagreed, however, and upheld Reynolds’ sentence when you look at the 1876. Regarding Court’s unanimous choice, it had been reported that:

“People which have a wife or husband way of life, whom marries various other, if or not partnered or single, into the an area, or other lay over that All of us provides exclusive legislation, is accountable for bigamy, and you may will be punished from the an excellent out-of not more than $five hundred, and by imprisonment to possess an expression regarding not more than four age.”

This new Court did recognize that Congress cannot ticket a legislation one forbids individuals regarding freely training their religion. But not, new it stored that law that forbids bigamy does not meet one to practical, and that the concept that a person need only 1 spouse would be tracked all the way back once again to English law lower than King James I away from The united kingdomt, where You.S. rules was situated.