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Utah law would decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults

FILE: Kody Brown, left, from TV's reality show "Sister Wives," marches during a protest at the state Capitol, in Salt Lake City. 

FILE: Kody Brown, left, from TV's reality show "Sister Wives," marches during a protest at the state Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (AP)

(FOX NEWS) -- Utah lawmakers on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults, despite arguments from opponents who said the law could potentially embolden abusers.

Despite polygamy being made a felony in Utah some 85 years ago, its practitioners still number in the thousands. Republican Senator Deidre Henderson, who proposed removing the threat of jail time for polygamists, said efforts to curb the practice have been largely ineffectual and, in some cases, have made matters worse.

"The law is a failure. It hasn't stopped polygamy at all and it's actually enabled abuse to occur and remain unchecked," Henderson said. Her proposal to make bigamy an infraction rather than a felony has gathered significant support, despite resistance from former members of polygamous groups.

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