140 years ago today - Mar 22, 1882

Edmunds Anti-polygamy Law

Edmunds Act was an amendment to strengthen the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law of 1862:

· All elective offices in Utah Territory were declared vacant and a board of five members, known as the Utah Commission, was to be appointed by the US President to assume temporarily all duties pertaining to elections.

· Disfranchised polygamists and declared them ineligible for public office.

· Declared polygamy a felony, with penalty of not more than five years imprisonment and / or a $500 fine.

· Defined polygamous living, which it termed "unlawful cohabitation", as a misdemeanor punishable by six months imprisonment and/or a $300 fine.

· Polygamists, whether in practice or merely in belief, were disqualified for jury service.

· The board would issue certificates of election to those eligible for that office and those lawfully elected.

· Gave to the Utah Commission power to deprive citizens of their civil rights without a trial, which is not found in any other such federal legislation of this country or in its jurisprudence, according to Larson in "The Americanization of Utah for Statehood"

[Tungate, Mel, Mormon Polygamy, http://www.tungate.com/polygamy.htm]

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