Well, that didn't take long. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. A mere four days later, a nationally known bigamist applied for a marriage license for his second mate.
He's a familiar face, and so are his women. They were on the TLC cable show Sister Wives. Now Nathan and Victoria Collier want to make their relationship with Christine legal.
Their inspiration? Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court, who predicted this could happen.
The county clerks in Billings, Montana don’t quite know how to react. Neither do some mainstream media. Says the Associated Press:
The Supreme Court's ruling on Friday made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them.
Collier, 46, said that dissent inspired him. He owns a refrigeration business in Billings and married Victoria, 40, in 2000. He and his second wife, Christine, had a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 but did not sign a marriage license to avoid bigamy charges, he said.
Collier didn't shy away from liberal terms. "It's about marriage equality," he told AP. "You can't have this without polygamy." He's also asking Montana's ACLU chapter to step in.
The clerks first denied the application, then said they'd ask the county attorney's office. If the state doesn't budge, Collier says he'll sue.
AP is less definite. Twice it mentions Collier's "wives," and twice it calls Christine his second wife, as if everyone agrees with those labels.
The story has a few other soft spots. AP quotes Anne Wilde, a co-founder of a pro-polygamy group in Utah. It doesn't spell out why it asked her, although we could guess it's because Collier was excommunicated from the mainline Mormon Church for his two women.
Wilde tells AP that polygamous families in Utah don’t want multiple marriage licenses: