Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lawyers for FLDS children profiled in ABA Journal

This month's ABA Journal has a fascinating feature on the Texas FLDS custody debacle this past spring, and the volunteer lawyers who represented the more than 450 children removed by the State of Texas. One of those lawyers is Susan L. Hays, who founded an organization (Jane's Due Process) that helps Texas teens obtain abortions. Hays describes how the experience challenged her expectations about FLDS women.

The article's penultimate paragraph quotes another lawyer with a sentiment one rarely hears when Mormon fundamentalism and polygamy come up:

“The problem is not really polygamy; the problem is the belief that women and children are unilaterally the property of the priesthood, and they raise the girls from the cradle to grow up and be mothers and plural wives. It’s all the girls have ever known.”

Hardly anyone ever considers these things separately, of course; in upholding Utah's criminal polygamy law, the state's high court said the law was justified because of the crimes against women and children associated with polygamy.

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