The TLC series Sister Wives has been mired in controversy since it premiered, and now much of America has watched the growth and evolution of the Fundamentalist Mormon polygamous Brown family and their many children. As those children reach adulthood, changes have rocked the Sister Wives crew to its core, not the least of which being the news that Mariah Brown, the only child of Kody and Meri Brown, is now openly living as a lesbian.
To put it mildly, same-sex relationships are frowned upon in all sects of the Mormon church; from FLDS to LDS to Fundamentalist Mormons (like the Sister Wives crew), part of Mormon doctrine demands that sex remain within the confines of marriage, and that marriage involves spouses of different genders.
— Imam Iswanto™ (@Imam_Official) January 10, 2017
As People reports, when Mariah Brown came out to her conservative Fundamentalist Mormon family on Sister Wives, the reaction from her father, moms and siblings was something of a mixed bag. According to her biological mom, Meri Brown, Mariah’s budding sexuality has changed her perception of her future and that of her child. In the past, Sister Wives has detailed Meri’s struggle with infertility, and Mariah is her only biological child, despite years of trying for more.
According to Meri, in a Sister Wives sneak peak, she had been relying on Mariah’s future marriage to give her the son she always wanted but never had.
“When I had Mariah, I had this cute little girl. I just always expected that she would grow up, meet a guy, get married, have kids. always wanted to have a son. I always just kind of thought, ‘Well, ya know, since I never had a son, I’ll be able to kind of adopt Mariah’s husband into kind of being a son.’ And I looked forward to seeing who that was gonna be, you know? And that’s not gonna happen.”
Meri Brown is reportedly not the only member of the Sister Wives crew having some trouble coming to terms with Mariah’s big announcement. According to Sister Wives patriarch Kody, he is struggling to accept his daughter’s sexuality, too.
“She just drops it like a bomb, and we’re like, ‘Oh.’ Janelle and Robyn are already there going, ‘I’m so glad you found yourself.’ They’re celebratory. I’m still in a state of processing this.”
— Wetpaint (@WetpaintTV) January 10, 2017
It’s possible that having a gay daughter isn’t the only foray into the LGBTQ community facing the Sister Wives clan, particularly Meri Brown. Kody Brown’s first (and formerly only legal) wife has a history of online hookups, and one highly-publicized and humiliating catfishing incident, has reportedly found a new boyfriend of her own.
The only problem? According to sources, the new boyfriend of the Sister Wives star might actually be gay himself, leaving her once again in a lurch and possibly without a man. After all, fans of Sister Wives know that the relationship between Kody and his first wife has been tumultuous for a while, few people know exactly where she stands.
— Lauren DuBois (@l_dubois613) January 16, 2017
Fortunately for Meri and the rest of her Sister Wives family, a source close to the Browns claims that she found out that she was being used as a “beard” before she could make the massive mistake of bailing on her family for “greener pastures.”
Meris's upset because Mariah's a lesbian? That's waaaaay more normal than being a Sister Wife!! #SisterWives
— Julia Jackson (@MJJ_I_love_you) January 11, 2017
The way the Browns responded to Mariah's coming out was very telling. I have never liked Kody Brown more than in that moment. #SisterWives
— (((MarisaMillerMc))) (@PortlandCashew) January 18, 2017
Not every drama facing the Sister Wives troop has to do with people unexpectedly coming out of the closet, but a lot of it does relate to marriage equality. Despite being adamantly heterosexual as a family and faith, the Browns have clamored onto the sweeping changes that have transformed marriage laws in the United States in recent years.
@KSLcom I don't see there's anything to discuss. We've defined marriage as "whatever." What possible argument can there be against polygamy?
— James Brown (@Curmudgeon1836) January 20, 2017
@KSLcom these people want to live like animals and our courts are going to allow it
— Gmk (@Kmarks37) January 20, 2017
As Deseret News reports, the Sister Wivesfamily were residents of Utah when they began filming their TLC reality show, effectively “coming out of the closet” as polygamists in a state with a tried-and-true historical record of persecuting polygamy. In Utah, cohabitation with multiple partners is banned, even if the man in question is legally only married to one of his “sister wives.”
After Sister Wives had hit the airwaves, the Brown family claimed to be so badly persecuted by local police that they moved to Las Vegas. They then filed a lawsuit demanding legalization of polygamy in the State of Utah.
US Supreme Court could discuss a request from the "Sister Wives” family to hear their case for legalizing polygamy. https://t.co/y4JrYDj0vy
— KSL (@KSLcom) January 20, 2017
In 2013, the Sister Wives family (and other polygamous families like theirs living in Utah) scored a victory when a state court ruled in their favor. However, that decision was later overturned by an appeals court.
It now appears that the U.S. Supreme Court could be taking on the Sister Wives case; it was announced on Thursday that the highest court in the could be willing to hear the case. A decision is expected as early as Monday regarding whether or not the SCOTUS will be considering the Sister Wives polygamy appeal.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]