Nathan Collier from Billings, Montana, has applied for a marriage license so he can legally wed a second woman. Collier, who considers himself already married to two women—Vicki and Christine—went to the Yellowstone County Courthouse on Tuesday, June 30, but was turned away by county clerks. Collier, 46, a former Mormon excommunicated for polygamy, said he was inspired by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to require states to allow same-sex marriages. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy—holding multiple marriage licenses—but Collier said he plans to sue if the application is denied.
“It’s about marriage equality,” Collier told The Associated Press Wednesday. “You can’t have this without polygamy.”
“We just want to add legitimacy to an already happy, strong, loving family,” Collier told local media. “We’re not even asking for acceptance, we’re just asking for tolerance. Let us live our lives together without fear.”
“It’s two distinct marriages, its two distinct unions, and for us to come together and create family, what’s wrong with that?” said Christine. “I don’t understand why it’s looked upon and frowned upon as being obscene.”
During the Obergefell v. Hodges arguments, conservative Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts contended that “much of the majority’s reasoning” in support of same-sex marriage “would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” Justice Samuel Alito asked on what grounds could a state deny a marriage license to, say, a foursome of two men and two women, and Justice Antonin Scalia asked if states would be required to recognize polygamous marriages performed in other countries.
Anne Wilde, a co-founder of the polygamy advocacy organization Principle Voices, commented, “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.”
Billings county clerk officials told Collier they would give him a final answer after consulting with the county attorney’s office. Collier and the two women have seven children of their own and from previous relationships.