Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can We Protest The Protest?

Utah JazzAs long as I was recently on the subject of the FLDS polygamist compound and other subjects that could be seen as being related to the FLDS fiasco (ie, penis theft), I figured I should probably add this. But I'm not happy about it.

Yes, there are a lot of people out there who are opposed to the whole polygamist lifestyle, but there are also a whole lot of people out there who are all in favor of the polygamist lifestyle (mainly the polygamists). Regardless as to if you think it's OK, it's against the law, so you just can't do it. If you'd like to work to get the laws changed, I think that is just a fan-tabulous idea. But until then, you really can't bitch too loudly when your gaggle of women is taken away from you. And even if you're not the one with the gaggle of women at your sexual beck and call, you still can't bitch. Apparently, some people didn't get that memo.

One of those who seems to be unclear on this concept would be Robert Breeze, an attorney in Salt Utah JazzLake. Actually, this isn't the only concept Bob is unclear on. He also seems to be unclear on the fact that there is NO relationship between NBA basketball playoffs and the FLDS polygamist sect in Texas. That's the only reason I can come up with (other than he's dumber than a box of hair) for him to be calling for a protest rally Thursday night and Saturday night outside of the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake when the Utah Jazz will be playing the Houston Rockets. (Side note: GO JAZZ!)

The following is from the blog "The Polygamy Files: The Tribune's blog on plural life" by Brooke Adams, the polygamy reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. Brooke received the following notice from Breeze:

Protest Rally

Let the children go home!

Event: Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets

Dates: 4-24-08 and 4-26-08

Time: 6:30pm & 8:30pm (Right before Jazz game starts)

Place: In front of the Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Make your own signs!

Examples: ''Shame on Texas!'' ''You messed up, Texas'' ''CPS = Gestapo'' ''Let the children go home!'' ''Stop Breaking Up Families!'' ''Free the Children'' ''Don't Trample Our Rights'' ''Guilty Before Charged?'' ''Star of David Moot with DNA'' ''CPS = Nazi's'' ''CPS = KGB'' ''CPS plays God again'' or bring your own idea.
Purpose: For nationwide coverage of American Citizens protesting against the civil rights violations of the families in Eldorado, Texas. Houston is coming to town to play the Jazz for the playoffs and will have sufficient coverage to reach the whole nation.

This rally is being sponsored by Bob Breeze, a Salt Lake City Attorney, who is concerned for the civil rights of these families in Texas. He has prepared letters to the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets demanding they cancel the remainder of their playoff games as a sign of solidarity and respect for the citizens of Texas (former residents of Utah) who have had their homes raided and their children taken.For more information, contact Bob Breeze at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

*******

Let's see...how do I approach this? Oh, that's right. I know. WTF?!
Maybe I'm missing something here, as I can see no clear relationship between the FLDS polygamist sect in Texas and an NBA playoff game. (Although.....there IS only ONE basketball and TEN guys on the court. Maybe that's where he got confused. Whatever it is, this guy is nuts.) The picture below clearly illustrates the differences between the FLDS and the NBA.

One Of These Things Just Doesn't Belong

Look, the NBA and the FLDS have NOTHING to do with each other! I don't care if one team is from Utah and the other team is from Texas. That has nothing to do with it! You should NOT be having a protest about anything in a setting that is totally removed from the issue that you are trying to protest. And you really shouldn't protest something that is totally moronic. If you would like to protest that the civil rights that were violated were those of the young girls who were being raped by older men who were satisfying their own perverted and narcissistic desires under the guise of a religion, feel free, Bob. But regardless, do it somewhere other than outside of an NBA playoff game.

By the way, Bob? Just because you're supplying the paint for this idiotic art project of yours, doesn't make your sign slogan suggestions there any less lame. What the hell does "Star of David Moot with DNA" mean anyway? Who the hell is David Moot?

And "cancel the remainder of their playoff games"? Then what? You are clearly unfamiliar with how the whole playoff system works. You are also clearly unfamiliar with your own sanity.

There's another implication of a stupid stunt like this that just burns my toast. It's not like Utah has all that great of a PR image as it is, and that's unfortunate because it's really not as bad or as weird as Robert Breezeit sometimes gets made out to be. It's a great place and I miss it (on occasion). And there's great people who live there, people who are NOT polygamists, people who are NOT raping underage girls, people who do NOT agree with the FLDS sect, people who are NOT breaking the laws. But when protests like these end up getting some national exposure, it's not exactly an image booster for Utah.

Utah is a great place and it's full of a lot of great people and a few nutjobs like Bob Breeze. It's unfortunate that in situations like these, you only hear about the nutjobs. But Bob isn't representative of Utah overall. He's only a representative of anyone who shows up for his rally. So if you're going to make any judgments about this whole dealio, hopefully it will be that the Utah Jazz rule and that the Rockets are going get their ass kicked. Oh, and that you should never hire Bob Breeze if you're in the market for a competent individual to serve as your defense attorney.

Robert Breeze and Homeless Paid ProtesterBy the way, protesting ridiculous causes in ridiculous manners is not something that Robert Breeze is unfamiliar with. In August of 2006, Breeze was the organizer of the "Death to Israel" rally that he held in Salt Lake in anticipation of a visit by President Bush. At that time, Breeze stated his goal was to "protest the torture and murder inflicted on Muslims by Israel and the penetration of the U.S. media by Israeli intelligence." Breeze and his group, The Center to Prevent Corporate Media Lying, had previously protested in front of KSL studios against the media coverage of the Iraq war. His "protesters" included residents from local homeless shelters who were paid for their participation in his event. Breeze called them "vicarious protesters." ("Vicarious" meaning "delegated".) I call them "fake protesters". When Breeze was asked if he wanted to see Israel eliminated and he replied, "The President of Iran has an excellent idea. . . . I would like to see them move Israel to Virginia and put all the current Virginians in a concentration camp. Then we'll see how popular Israel is in the United States." WTF?

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that Utah’s polygamists are criminals? Let us hear from Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. In May of 2006, he said, "Polygamy is against the law. It's that simple." In an interview on the “Larry King Live” show, LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley said of polygamy, “I think I leave that entirely in the hands of the civil officers. It's a civil offense. It's in violation of the law . . . . . . . I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal.

Do you know where to find the text of a Utah statute prohibiting polygamy? – Probably not. The truth is – There is no law against polygamy in Utah. Now, it is true that there are statutes prohibiting sodomy, adultery, fornication and bigamy, but the word “polygamy” is found nowhere in Utah’s criminal codes. Polygamy is not defined as a crime in Utah’s laws, and it has been many years since any Utahn has been prosecuted for polygamy. Why, then, is there such a pervasive belief that Utah’s polygamists are criminals?

Everybody knows that it was the Mormons who brought polygamy to the Rocky Mountains. It was a fundamental tenet of Latter-day Saint theology. When the federal government decided to crack down on Mormon polygamy in the 1800’s, it was a direct attack on a purely religious practice. Little attention was directed at adulterers and fornicators. Polygamy was dubbed one of the “twin relics of barbarism”. The government confiscated Mormon Church property in order to persuade it to renounce this controversial practice.

When the Church put forth George Reynolds as a polygamy test case in the 1870’s, the argument was that polygamy was protected under the First Amendment’s “establishment” clause. The Reynolds court summarily scoffed at George Reynolds’ claims, insisting that, “Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people.” This decision was an example of reprehensible bigotry, and it gave the federal and state governments unfettered power to attack almost any religious practice, even if it could not be shown to cause harm.

The reason why Utah has no law directly prohibiting plural marriages or polygamy is because there is no way to write such a statute without blatantly violating the facial neutrality guidelines invoked by the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Lukumi. It would be as flagrant as writing a law that forbids Mexicans to dance on Sundays. The sneaky way to get around this is to simply write a law that forbids all dancing on Sundays and then prosecute nobody but Mexicans for violating it. That is exactly what happens here in Utah, and it is a clear violation of operational or as-applied neutrality.

The way the legal establishment craftily targets Utah’s polygamists is by way of the bigamy statute. Nationally, bigamy statutes are designed to catch the con-man who legally marries one woman, then secretly and fraudulently obtains one or more additional marriage licenses in an effort to bilk the women out of their money and property. Polygamists do not commit such bigamy because there is no secrecy, and only the first wife has a legal marriage.

A hundred years ago, federal marshals employed numerous tactics to ensnare persistent polygamists. Laws were enacted which made it a crime to solemnize a plural marriage ceremony; to impregnate a plural wife; to spend the night in different homes on different nights of the week; to eat dinner with more than one woman, to say that you had more than one wife; and even to teach the doctrine of plural marriage. No effort was spared to twist the law to cast so broad a net that one could be imprisoned almost for believing in polygamy. In 1942, one of Rulon C. Allred’s wives was jailed for playing the piano for a Mormon fundamentalist church Sunday School class. Such violations of simple due process might cause even Stalin to shudder.

Today, the trickery continues. Utah’s bigamy statute is cleverly crafted. It says essentially two things:

1. You are guilty of bigamy (a felony) if you are married to one spouse and then you purport (claim) that you have a second or third.
2. You are guilty of bigamy if you are married to one spouse and then you “cohabit” with another person to whom you are not really “married”.

On the surface these statutes may seem innocuous and rational, but I will prove to you that they are not. First, it is absurd to prosecute someone in every case for purporting something inaccurate. Every Sunday, Latter-day Saints attend church meetings and address each other as “brother” or “sister”. More often than not, these churchgoers are not true siblings, so the claim of being brothers and sisters is inaccurate, yet I can remember no instance of a Mormon being arrested for such assertions. Now if I am married and I begin a relationship with another woman, and I decide to call her my “plural wife” (and not my “mistress”), the State of Utah will of course categorically refuse to acknowledge her as a real wife. Second marriages are automatically void and have no legal value. Nevertheless, I have now committed a felony for “purporting” that I have a second wife. This would be somewhat like my falsely claiming to have robbed a bank when, in fact, no bank was robbed, and then having the police demand that I return the money!

The second “prong” of the bigamy statute is equally absurd. First, the term “cohabit” has not been defined in Utah Code, so we are left to guess what it might mean. However, let us not split hairs. Cohabit can only mean one of two likely things. It either means “sharing the same dwelling with”, or “having sexual intercourse with”. Let us look at the first meaning. This meaning is overbroad, in that most Utah families have a married man who resides with other people to whom he is not married, namely his CHILDREN. This construction would put half of Utah in prison for bigamy. The second meaning – the sexual one – is the more likely application, would you not agree? The problem with this is plainly obvious. Mormon fundamentalist polygamists get a legal marriage license with the first “wife”. The subsequent (or “plural”) wives are only girl-friends in a strict legal sense. There may be sex acts, and children may be born, but that still does not afford the women any kind of legal spousal status. In strict legal parlance, the man’s actions constitute adultery or fornication – both misdemeanors which are NEVER prosecuted in Utah. Sadly, every year, thousands of ordinary Utah citizens commit adultery, and, in some cases, a pregnancy results. These crimes are never prosecuted because the perpetrators are not fundamentalist Mormons.

In recent years, the bigamy statute has been used to prosecute four men, all of whom were either single or were married to only one legal wife. Those men are Mark Easterday of Monroe, Steve Bronson of Hinckley, Thomas Green of Partoun, and Rodney Holm of Hildale. In some cases, girls of minor age were involved but, since at that time Utah had no “child bigamy” statute, all four men were prosecuted for “adult” bigamy. The only other bigamy case in recent history is the case of State v. Geer”. Geer was a true bigamist because he had two concurrent state marriage licenses. Without exception, Utah has only used the bigamy statute on men with one wife or no wife when those men were FUNDAMENTALIST MORMONS who believed in the Mormon doctrine of polygamy. There crime was their doctrinal beliefs.

This approach unquestionably violates the operational neutrality requirement of the Lukumi decision, and I believe it violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause. If I have a wife and I take an additional bed-partner, my guilt or innocence and the length of my prison sentence hinge on the language I use to describe the second woman. If I say, “mistress” or “girl-friend”, I am home free. If I say “plural-wife”, I will end up in prison. If it is discovered that I am a Mormon fundamentalist, then my goose is cooked. Mormon fundamentalists are about as popular as Nazi war criminals.

Even more ironic is the fact that in June of 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Lawrence v. Texas which forever changed the landscape of morality legislation. In overturning the (1986) Bowers v. Hardwick decision, the Court held that it could now no longer be said that homosexual sex was not a fundamental Constitutional liberty. Scratch your head for a minute and think back to the last case you remember where a gay person was incarcerated for homosexuality. In fact, today, Utah representative Jackie Biskupski is an openly homosexual state legislator. Now no state can enact or enforce any law prohibiting any homosexual sex act. The Lawrence Court insisted that states cannot create laws directed at specific lifestyles which are not then applied generally to all parties. It said that states must not pass morality laws designed to attack private adult conduct just because the majority finds that conduct repugnant or distasteful. All private, non-commercial, consensual adult sex acts are Constitutionally protected. This is why Bill Clinton and Hugh Hefner are not in prison. Singling out Utah’s polygamists for disfavorable treatment is inexcusable.

You may remember that Utah was refused admission to the Union until it agreed to include in its state constitution an irrevocable clause which would forever prohibit “polygamous or plural marriages”. A clause was then also inserted which forbade Utah to remove this prohibition without first getting permission from the federal government. This “irrevocable” clause is unconstitutional because it brought Utah into the Union on a lower (“unequal”) “footing” than the other states whose constitutions contained no such heavy-handed federal interference. In 1910, a Supreme Court decision, Coyle v. Smith, found such irrevocable clauses to be impermissible. Sadly, however, as long as the good people of the pretty, great State of Utah are content to leave this unconstitutional clause in their constitution, it remains in place to menace some 30,000 law-abiding fundamentalist Mormons with the stigma of criminality and the specter of prosecution.

One puzzling aspect of this situation is that the Attorney General has said that he will not prosecute consenting adult polygamists for the following three reasons:

1. No one will come forward to provide evidence;
2. Utah lacks sufficient law enforcement resources to catch all the polygamists; and
3. There are not enough prison spaces or foster homes for the polygamists and their children after they have been caught. (Could you ever let a polygamist out of prison?)

I think the true reason no prosecutor dares to exercise Utah’s bizarre bigamy statute against a consenting adult family is that the Attorney General knows that such a prosecution would provide the perfect test case to compel the Supreme Court to overturn the statute and the Reynolds decision. It appears that certain parties in power are anxious to maintain the status quo.

I will finish by including a statement made by the State of Utah in its Amici Curiae brief in the Lawrence v. Texas case. Joining other states’ efforts to keep already unconstitutional laws on the books, the Attorney General argued,

Even legislation that is largely symbolic and infrequently enforced (due to other salutary checks on government power like the Fourth Amendment) has significant pedagogical value. Laws teach people what they should and should not do, based on the experiences of their elders.

Might I venture to suggest that Utah’s elders include Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel Wells and John Taylor (all of whom were revered polygamists and statesmen).

Mare said...

Of course you're Anonymous. What a surprise.

Matt "The Bull" said...

Dude, I like to watch basketball as much as the next guy.
your premise is based on "you can't bitch about it if your breaking the law"
thats the whole issue here. THEY ARE NOT COMMITTING POLYGAMY.
They are only marrying one wife legally. No marriage law broken.
I am embarrassed for morons who have so easily forgotten their history.

Anonymous said...

(sorry about the anonymous thing, i can't figure out how to write my name - ITS MAYA :) )


okay, so since i'm doing a presentation on the LEGAL parts of mormon polygamy right now, let me refer you to a little educated reading (per our supreme court, if you can stomach that).

lets start out with something simple. polygamy is a type of bigamy. bigamy is when two people marry (or 'purport to marry', in our country). polygamy - 3 or more people marrying - would require FIRST that 2 people be married. therefore, young grasshopper (HA), the word polygamy does not need to be in any text of the utah statute (btw, its in art. 3 sec. 1). so utah's polygamists ARE criminals... (that argument it completely ridicules, it could be flatlined by any high school junior after 2 days of researching for a presentation!)

next: the fact that the republican party called it a "twin relic of barbarism" is not a crime - the republican party can say whatever it wants (1st amendment, anyone?). and the government confiscating church property (edmunds-tucker act) was deemed valid in late corporation of FLDS v. US

"congress may not abrogate laws of territorial legislature but it may itself legislate directly and for the local government. congress had a FULL and PERFECT RIGHT to repeal its charter and abrogate its corporate existence."

while i love your example of the "reprehensible bigotry" of the WAITE court, lets look at another couple sentences, shall we?

“The question was raised, whether religious belief can be accepted as a justification of an overt act made criminal by the law of the land.”

“Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law.”

The only question which remains is, whether those who make polygamy a part of their religion are excepted from the operation of the statute. If they are, then those who do not make polygamy a part of their religious belief may be found guilty and punished, while those who do, must be acquitted and go free. This would be introducing a new element into criminal law. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile of her dead husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?

(those are all direct quotes, btw).

SO YOU SAID:
"Utah has no law directly prohibiting plural marriages or polygamy"... UM, HAVE YOU READ THE CONSTITUTION LATELY? let me remind you of it:

Art. 3, Sec. 1 of Utah’s state Constitution:

“Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”

you said: Polygamists do not commit such bigamy because there is no secrecy, and only the first wife has a legal marriage.

actually, that is the very reason - it is "by its nature a public one" (per Utah v. Holm, look it up) that the courts cited is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

TO MATT THE BULL:

seriously, DUDE, have you read anything about the subject?

look up the phrase "purports to marry". then try "potter v. murray city", or "state of utah v. holm".

The reasoning of the Court was that he “purports to marry” (art. 3 sec. 1); the state bars polygamous marriages that are solemnized through religious ceremonies even when no state marriage license has been sought.

-MAYA

Mare said...

For the record, Maya's comments (and I enjoyed them thoroughly!) seem to be directed at the first Anonymous who commented. They don't seem to be directed at me, the writer of the original post. (And that's a good thing because I think that I'd really like to have Maya on my side in the future. For anything.)

Thanks for reading!

~ Mare

Anonymous said...

okay, so i've been looking at the rest of your long, rambling post... and started LAUGHING. honey, even if you use legal jargon it doesn't make you right.

"The subsequent (or “plural”) wives are only girl-friends in a strict legal sense. There may be sex acts, and children may be born, but that still does not afford the women any kind of legal spousal status."
-SERIOUSLY? can you try skimming over that HOLM case you mentioned right after again? ('purports to marry'. i think thats all thats necessary to say).


you said:
Laws were enacted which made it a crime to solemnize a plural marriage ceremony; to impregnate a plural wife; to spend the night in different homes on different nights of the week; to eat dinner with more than one woman, to say that you had more than one wife; and even to teach the doctrine of plural marriage.
-okay, the first part i agree with. can you please give me the laws for the rest? (ya, thought so). in terms of 'teach the doctrine of plural marriage' - thats actually the words of WOODRUFF (LDS pres.) who excommunicated anyone who did that. oh ya, and that police officer, since he was telling people to BREAK THE LAW.

you misunderstood (hmmm, was that intentional?) the idea of 'purport'. its not about inaccuracy. in fact, look at it IN THE CONTEXT of the 3 words on either side of it. its about purporting to MARRY, which courts have ruled time and time again that marriage is in the interest of the state / government to legislate. it has nothing to do with lying. the robbery analogy? doesn't exactly work... at all.

Such violations of simple due process might cause even Stalin to shudder.
HAHA seriously? do you remember how many people stalin killed? i don't think he'd blink an eye, let alone shudder.

the definition of "cohabit"... ya, thats never really been up for debate. his children? wow. way to go outside the box for that one. no, it doesn't work like that. (i don't know what else to say but laugh).

YOU SAID: In some cases, girls of minor age were involved but, since at that time Utah had no “child bigamy” statute, all four men were prosecuted for “adult” bigamy.
-WAIT, what is the difference between adult and child bigamy? could it possibly be that we are talking about a CHILD?? (which i love how you skip over the obvious here.... BUT ISN'T THAT RAPE???). why, yes, having sex with a child is rape, even if you call it a celestial marriage and do a cute little ceremony beforehand.
(ya, i know, girls were 14 which at the time in utah was legal age of consent, still doesn't take away all that other stuff the court said...)

Anonymous said...

its really cute how you say that . "If it is discovered that I am a Mormon fundamentalist, then my goose is cooked." actually, the attorney generals in both UTAH and ARIZONA, along with many county AGs have explicitely stated that they will NOT prosecute pure polygamy... so unless your second 'bed partner' (we call them EFF buddies :P ) is 14 years old and your beating here and raping here nightly (remember those details of Jeff's trial?) or if she's your brother's 16 yr old daughter and he beat her after she tried to run away from your abuse (Kingston, anyone), i think your safe for now.


okay, so i could go on quoting you and then absolutely flatlining your arguments for a while more, but since i've actually got to finish this presentation (eek, i hate public speaking, wish me luck!) i'll let the rest of your misguided (and frankly either uneducated or purposefully in denial) crap go.

oh, one more thing. i love that 'utah's elders' were polygamists, maybe brigham young's method of doing things (21 wives) would create a slight imbalance? i mean, china is having difficulty with 120 boys to every 100 girls... popping out 2100 girls to every 100 boys might be a bit difficult for those good people of hilldale and colorado city, don't you think? (okay, i know, not a constitutional argument. but still, how would that work?)
and lets look at another elder... joseph smith. he wasn't all that bad. its a bummer, though, that although his revelation occurred in 1843, he had this amazing foresight to already be practicing polygamy in the early 1930s (when he married fanny alger, age 16).
good thing that revelation on celestial marriages came along and made it all okay. what a lucky coincidence.

-maya

Anonymous said...

ok list stupid ass i am From one of those families and my father was Never Accused of it and what business of it yours to open you mouth about my father my name is derrick bronson i want you to email me at derrickbronson506@hotmail.com so i can tell you have it really was being from that family and the truth about what was going on at that time but from now on maybe you should keep your mouth shut