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Mid-State Based SBC Pans Polygamy Ruling

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Middle Tennessee based Southern Baptist Convention is weighing in a federal judge's ruling that effectively decriminalizes polygamy.

The Rev. Russell Moore says the ruling puts vulnerable women and children at risk and also undermines the Bible's definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said in the decision handed down Friday that a provision in Utah's bigamy law forbidding cohabitation with another person violated the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion.

If the ruling stands, Utah's law would still prohibit people from having multiple marriage licenses. But in most polygamous families in Utah, the man is legally married to one woman and only "spiritually married" to the others.