US Justice dept sues polygamous towns

Hildale-Utah

The US Justice Department on Thursday sued two polygamous towns along the Utah-Arizona border, claiming religious discrimination against non-sect members.

The federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, where most residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's jailed leader Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child sex and bigamy charges, but he is said to still maintain control of the communities.

The lawsuit comes after state legislatures in Utah and Arizona failed this year to pass bills aimed at abolishing the local police department that monitors the communities.

The Arizona bill was being pushed by state Attorney General Tom Horne, who said Colorado City police officers who are FLDS members flout the law and instead pay allegiance first to Jeffs.

A similar bill failed in the Utah Legislature. Colorado City officers also police neighboring Hildale.

The FLDS practices polygamy, a legacy of early Mormon church teachings that held plural marriage brought exaltation in heaven.

However, the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice in 1890 as a condition of Utah's statehood and ex-communicates members who engage in the practice.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.