Montana Man to CBS: You Can't Have Marriage Equality Without Polygamy

July 3rd, 2015 4:51 PM

It was bound to happen. Barely a week after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal regardless of gender across the country, someone else would try to tinker with another aspect of the wedding contract.

That was the case in a report by Simone DeAbla of CBS affiliate KTVQ in Billings, Montana, who stated that Nathan Collier and his wife, Christine, applied for a license at the Yellowstone County Courthouse to marry another woman named Victoria.

And if the application is denied, the polygamist stated he intends to file a lawsuit that might make it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we all know how a case regarding traditional marriage turned out.

Like all 50 states, Montana outlaws bigamy, which is defined as “holding multiple marriage licenses.”

DeAbla began by stating:

Nathan Collier and his partner, Christine, went to the Yellowstone County Courthouse looking to be wed under the Marriage Equality Act. The Colliers practice polygamy, but it's currently illegal under Montana state law.

“We just want to add legal legitimacy to an already happy, strong, loving family,” explained the former Mormon who was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for polygamy.

He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years, but they became tired of hiding and went public.

“As the two filled out their marriage application, they were met with questions,” the TV reporter noted.

“There's a spot on there where you put the dissolution date of your previous marriage,” Christine stated, and “we put 'NA,'" which means “Not Applicable” to her and her husband.

“OK, you're married to someone else?” a blonde female supervisor asked the pair.

“I'm married to my first wife, Victoria,” Nathan responded.

“OK,” the baffled supervisor said.

“The couple was met with surprise,”  DeAbla stated.

The video then turned its attention to a male clerk in the office: “So you're legally married to … ?”

“I'm legally married to Victoria,” Nathan replied.

“So you didn't get divorced from her yet?” the clerk asked.

“No, we're still a family,” Nathan asserted. “I'm a polygamist. I have two wives.”

“We're not even asking for acceptance,” Nathan told the reporter. “We're just asking for tolerance. Let us live our lives together without fear.

The question at hand, DeAbla asked, was: “Could the Marriage Equality Act extend to polygamists? And that part isn't quite clear.”

“OK, and we'll have to deny that because … ,” the supervisor told the couple before stating: “Let me go grab the other supervisor real quick so I can get confirmation, but as far as I'm aware, you can't be married to two people at the same time.”

“The Colliers were initially denied the license,” the reporter indicated. “The clerk later returned, saying they'd have to check with the attorney general's office.”

“When asked for comment, the agency referred the reporter to a section of Montana Law stating that polygamy is illegal.

The law reads: “A person commits the crime of bigamy if, while married, the person knowingly contracts or purports to contract another marriage."

“The couple's goal is to have their story heard,” the reporter stated innocently. “The Colliers say that if the state of Montana could recognize their marriage as legal, it could be the catalyst for other states to follow suit.”

In addition, Anne Wilde -- a co-founder of the polygamy advocacy organization Principle Voices located in Utah -- told KTVQ  that Collier's application is the first she's heard of in the nation:

Ninety percent or more of the fundamentalist Mormons don't want it legalized, they want it decriminalized.

We hope the Supreme Court decision will show the direction the nation is going, It's more liberal, it's more understanding about people forming the families the way they want."

As NewsBusters reported on Thursday, some of the most devoted liberals who fought long and hard to legitimize same-sex marriage are now hammering polygamists since they belong to a “fringe group” and don't deserve the benefits the Supreme Court ruling confers on homosexuals.

Perhaps the next time a CBS reporter decides to discuss polygamy, he or she will find a way to cover the story in a “fair and balanced” manner.