LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online): Bigamy remains illegal in all 50 states. Regardless, Collier says he plans to sue if the application is denied. "It's about marriage equality," Collier says. "You can't have this without polygamy."
Collier's application was quickly denied. Officials will consult with the county attorney's office before giving him a final answer, Collier said. A formal response to Collier has been promised by next week.
It was a theoretical issue foremost in some minds before last week's SCOTUS ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent to same sex unions last week that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument.
The 46-year-old Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.
A Mormon, Collier was excommunicated for polygamy and has no current religious affiliation. He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years. The three went public by appearing on the reality cable television show "Sister Wives."
The three have seven children of their own and from previous relationships.
"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," Collier says.
Collier claims to have sent a letter to the American Civil Liberties Union to represent him in a possible lawsuit. ACLU legal director Jim Taylor says he has yet to see the request.
Taylor said he has no opinion on Collier's claims, though the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage "is about something very different.
"Anne Wilde, a co-founder of the polygamy advocacy organization Principle Voices located in Utah, said Collier's application is the first she's heard of in the nation, and that most polygamous families in Utah are not seeking the right to have multiple marriage licenses.
"Ninety percent or more of the fundamentalist Mormons don't want it legalized, they want it decriminalized," Wilde said.