Plural Marriage Law and Legal Definition

Plural marriage is a marital practice in which one spouse is already married to someone else. In short, it can be defined as a bigamous or polygamous union. The origin of plural marriage can be traced back to the nineteenth-century practice of a man marrying more than one wife. In reality, plural marriage meant polygyny, but it was popularly known as polygamy. Pursuant to 48 USCS § 1561, the contracting of polygamous or plural marriages is prohibited in U.S.

In Riddle v. Riddle, 26 Utah 268 (Utah 1903), the court observed that “Notwithstanding celestial or plural marriage is one of the essential tenets of the Mormon Church, the legal status of marriage exists between parties who, in Utah before the enactment of any statute upon the subject, through members of that church, have made a contract of marriage in which they mutually agree to assume and observe the legal obligations of that relation, and in pursuance of that agreement openly cohabit as man and wife and hold themselves out to the public as such; but, in the absence of such an agreement, the legal status of marriage cannot arise.”