Free Exercise Clause Still Doesn’t Protect a Right to Engage in Polygamy

Mekbib Adgeh, who filed a Complaint / My Legal Right to Have More Than One Wife, has now been rebuffed by the Tenth Circuit, in Adgeh v. Oklahoma, which affirmed the District Court’s rejection of the claim. It’s an interesting question whether the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act might provide the religious exemption that Adgeh seeks, and that the Free Exercise Clause doesn’t provide; but that is a story for another day and another court (presumably an Oklahoma state court), should Adgeh choose to file suit in that court.

There is also the question whether, given Lawrence v. Texas, a state may outlaw plural religious marriages where the parties don’t try to make any legal claims based on those religious ceremonies; for more on that, see the majority and the dissent in State v. Holm (Utah 2006). And there is the question of who, if anyone, would want to marry Mr. Adgeh, given the reasoning in his Complaint.

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