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For week ended October 17, 1999 Posted 24 Oct 1999

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A GOP Lawmaker Says Polygamists Deserve an Apology

Summarized by Eric Bunker

A GOP Lawmaker Says Polygamists Deserve an Apology
Salt Lake Tribune 12Oct99 N5
By Dan Harrie: Salt Lake Tribune

Rep. David Zolman, a Republican State lawmaker, is trying to push the Utah Legislature into drafting a resolution that would apologize to the state's 30,000 people in polygamist families for the raids and subsequent prosecution that took place in the 40s and 50s. Her says it is an acknowledgment of their right to exist and is an attempt to build a peace bridge between all societies in Utah and end decades of hostile confrontation. He says that, "The head-in-the-sand solution of the past century is clearly erroneous and someone has got to do something,"

Rep Zolman, who describes himself as an "orthodox monogamist" with no bigamists in his ancestry, previously has advocated removing the polygamy ban from the Utah Constitution and decriminalizing plural marriage. That remains his long-term legislative objective, but he now believes such a dramatic change must be accomplished in stages. Rep. Zolman claims that his support among colleagues is gaining, but the opposition disputes that, saying that he has no support at all

House Speaker Marty Stephens warns that tampering with anti-polygamy laws could "open up a Pandora's Box." He says, "If we are going to argue people ought to be able to marry who they want and have plural marriage, how different is that from saying you ought to allow homosexual marriages?"

The Church, which Speaker Stephens and most other Utah lawmakers are members of, has taken an activist stance opposing same-sex marriage, including pouring more than $1 million into Hawaii and Alaska political campaigns.

Rep. Zolman knows the potential political repercussions for dragging the sensitive polygamy debate into the open. He took lots of flak last session for pushing a resolution for a study about decriminalizing polygamy. He justifies his actions by saying, "It's better to be right than to be re-elected. We need to recognize them as a community with a right to exist."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information