April 12, 2009
That is for tax purposes, could they be?
This thought struck my mind as I was reading some online tax prep guidance on turbotax:
Member of recognized religious sect:In order to be a member of a recognized religious sect the following criteria must be met:
– You must be conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits from any private or public insurance that makes payments for death, disability, old age, retirement, medical care, or provides services for medical care
– You must waive all rights to receive any Social Security payments or benefits and agree that no benefits or payments will be made to anyone else based on your wages and self-employment income
– It is the practice, and has been for a substantial period of time, for members of the sect or division to provide for their dependent members in a manner that is reasonable in view of the members’ general level of living
– The sect or division must have been in existence at all times since December 31, 1950.
The Christian Scientists have proven its possible to become recognized — in a big way. I mean just a drive through our nation’s capital and noticing their huge church in the center of town will tell you that much.
So apparently there are tax benefits. But more important than the tax benefits is the reality that alternative religious lifestyles are actually legitimate and recognized by the people of this country, despite what the feminazis and modernists want you to think.
April 4, 2009
The First Amendment argument is logical. Problem is that logic is not a welcomed visitor in the courtroom. The courts in Texas under its constitution would argue there are no restrictions on free speech. They would say that the legislature has created three prerequisites for bigamy: agreement to marry, cohabitation as husband/wife, and representation of marriage. If a polygamist represented his second relationship as a “spiritual union” or “spiritual unity” or “spiritual agreement,” then he would have a defense, we believe, against marriage. His free speech rights under either the Texas or federal constitution would not be violated simply because he could not use the term “marriage” in public to define his second or third or fourth relationship. Multiple relationships are not, standing alone, illegal. It’s the manner in which the individual defines those relationships to the public. The Texas bigamy statute prohibits him from defining the relationships as “marriages” – whether state-sanctioned ceremonial, common law, or “spiritual” marriages.
The recent decision by the Iowa Supreme Court legalizing “gay” marriages (along with Connecticut and Massachusetts) will ultimately create the new line of attack on bigamy statutes, The traditional reason for prohibiting homosexual marriages, just as with multiple marriage, is the threat they pose to our society’s historical definition of “marriage.” If gay marriage does not unconstitutionally threaten that historical definition, then certainly polygamy does not pose a greater threat. Again, as we presented in our blog, Texas does not, nor do most states, protect marriage, either through its constitution or laws, as an “institution.” It is a “status.” A “status” can be redefined while an “institution” cannot. Ergo, “gay” marriages in Iowa (the American “heartland”), Connecticut and Massachusetts ).
Hope this helps answer your question.
I greatly appreciate your responding to this quintessential question of bigamy’s place on the law books.
I personally question the notion that the existence of a so-called “status” or “institution” has any place in the law books. I still think that’s a restriction on free-speech, free expression, and free thought, and I believe the common law bigamy law can be challenged on that basis. I don’t see any other way around it.
As long as the government can write laws that enshrine definitions for things such as marriage, they can also create definitions for other customs and practices and criminalize human relationships or activities. Take the term “girlfriend” which everyone knows and recognizes — sort of. What’s to stop the government from writing a law that prohibits someone from having a “girlfriend” from another country or to have several at the same time?
These are just social terms (“girlfriend,” “marriage,” “lover,” “associate,” “colleague”), that are constantly changing in their connotations and even definitions on an informal level. Are definitions themselves the province of the legislature? Can the legislature rewrite Webster’s dictionary tomorrow with the stroke of a pen and tell people which words they can and cannot use in public or just in a social context? Can they tell people how they can and cannot define themselves?
Thanks again for the reasoned reply,
April 4, 2009
To: jfloyd@JohnTFloyd.com Hello there. Good work blogging on the FLDS cases. What do you think about this idea: Bigamy laws should be overturned because they violate Free Speech rights, namely the right to call your significant other a “wife” and the right to “purport” to be married. These are the acts that define common law bigamy in Texas — the expression of this thing called marriage, rather than any physical underlying actions or deception. Expression in it self, if harmless, should not be criminalized at all. Why is it that Texas has a law prohibiting “purporting” (making the expression) that one is married to multiple people? Carrying the defense into the realm of free speech, according the Tom Green ruling in Utah, also opens up the door to bringing a defense on the basis of vagueness, which is critical to defeating the nonsensical, circular bigamy statute. (I say it’s circular because it is: you are married if you purport to be married. That’s circular. It shouldn’t be allowed to be a valid legal definition.) What do you think about these ideas?
March 11, 2009
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