Attorney General Fox Applauds U.S. District Court Recommendations in Polygamy Case

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced today a U.S. District Court judge adopted in full the findings and recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate judge in a case challenging Montana’s bigamy laws.

In the case, Collier v. Fox, plaintiffs Nathan, Vicki, and Christine Collier sought to legalize their plural marriage.  In 2015, the Colliers were denied a marriage license by Yellowstone County when Nathan Collier, who is legally married to Vicki Collier, wanted to legalize his domestic partnership with Christine Parkinson Collier.

United States Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan found the Colliers did not have standing to challenge Montana’s criminal bigamy laws.  Vicki Collier is legally married to Nathan and the Colliers failed to provide any evidence she is suffering a constitutionally-recognized injury to that relationship. The Court found the State has not interfered in the Colliers’ way of life and the Colliers have not violated any laws.  The Court recognized The United State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of anti-polygamy laws in 1878, and is still followed by courts today.

Judge Cavan’s findings and recommendations were preliminary, and subject to the ultimate decision of U.S. District Court Judge Susan P. Watters.  Click here to read Judge Watter’s order.

Following the U.S. District Court’s ruling, Attorney General Tim Fox said, “Polygamous marriages are illegal across the country, and Montana is no exception.  This ruling upholds the institution of marriage as a legal union between two people.”  Attorney General Fox went on to thank Deputy Attorney General Melissa Schlichting and Assistant Attorney General Pat Risken for their diligent work on the case over the past three years.