Traditional Marriage Under Scrutiny in Utah Courts

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A federal ruling that decriminalizes polygamy in Utah is being criticized by the Southern Baptist Convention.

The recent decision declares that a Utah law forbidding co-habitation with another person violates the First Amendment.

But the Baptist convention's top public policy official Russell D. Moore said "decriminalizing polygamy puts vulnerable women and children at risk."

He also warned that "the ruling undermines the Bible's definition of marriage as a the union of one man and one woman."

Moore is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

While the ruling does not legalize multiple marriages, it means polygamist families who live together cannot be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, Utah is taking battle against same-sex marriage to the nation's highest court. On Tuesday, the state filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to stop gay marriages.

Same-sex unions became legal in Utah when a federal judge struck down the state's voter approved ban.

Nearly two-thirds of Utah's residents are Mormons. The Mormon church says it stands by its support for traditional marriage and hopes a higher court will validate its belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

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