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Utah, a conservative American state and the birthplace of Mormons, has just demoted polygamy to a state of contravention, reports the New York Times . In the rest of the United States, this practice remains an offense punishable by imprisonment.
Last March, Republican Senator Deidre M. Henderson, introduced a bill to decriminalize it. The law came into force on Tuesday after being approved by US senators. Henceforth, a married man can have several wives without fear of legal proceedings. Polygamy is now considered an offense, punishable by a fine of $ 750 and community service.
Concept of "consent"
It should be noted that this new law applies only on the condition that marriages are consented. Otherwise, polygamy remains an offense punishable by up to fifteen years' imprisonment.
Its entry into force provoked outrage from several human rights associations. The Sound Choices Coalition, an NGO fighting polygamy, denounces an "abject way to reinforce modern sexual slavery". "The bill does not protect the thousands of victims - men, women and children - who have been programmed [...] from birth by their own parents to 'shut up, obey, be polygamous or be destroyed'," said thus the members of the association last February, shortly before its vote.
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