Nathan Collier lives in Montana with his two wives and says that with the United States government supporting marriage equality, he has applied for a second marriage license. Collier says if his request is denied, he will sue as his second wife Christine “deserves legitimacy” and that they are just asking for tolerance. Collier’s second marriage license was filed at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday and was initially denied. However, clerks said they would speak with the county attorney before making a final ruling.
CBS reports that Nathan Collier, 46, was “inspired” by the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Collier says that with the court ruling in favor of “marriage equality” it is only fair that his marriage to his second wife Christine be made legally binding. Collier lives with his two wives Victoria and Christine. However, Collier is only legally married to Victoria as he has never applied for a second marriage license to Christine for fear of facing bigamy charges. However, the pair did have a religious wedding ceremony in 2007.
Collier says that he became tired of hiding his relationship with his second wife and made the relationship “public” by appearing on the reality television series Sister Wives. Though bigamy is still “illegal” in Utah, a federal judge struck down parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy law two years ago. The judge found that it is against the law to prohibit cohabitation. Despite the ruling, bigamy itself is still illegal making a second marriage license impossible without facing criminal charges. Therefore, a person can live with as many men or women as they want, but can only be legally married to one. Collier is hoping to change all of that.
Collier notes that the family is not looking for “acceptance” but rather tolerance. Nathan says that Christine has “put up with” his “crap” for all these years and deserves “legitimacy.”
“We’re not even asking for acceptance, we’re just asking for tolerance. Let us live our lives together without fear. My second wife Christine, who I’m not legally married to, she’s put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy.”
Christine says that the two marriages are two distinct unions and should be treated as such under the law.
“It’s two distinct marriages, its two distinct unions, and for us to come together and create family, what’s wrong with that? I don’t understand why it’s looked upon and frowned upon as being obscene.”
Nathan Collier says he wrote a letter to the ACLU asking for legal support should his case be brought to court. However, ACLU legal director Jim Taylor said he had not seen the request and says despite same-sex marriage legislation passing at the Supreme Court level, polygamy is “about something very different.”
What do you think? Do you think polygamy should be legal in the eyes of the law with the government supporting all consenting adults right to “marriage equality?”
[Image Credit: Nathan Collier via Examiner]