Nathan Collier: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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Nathan Collier: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A Billings, Montana, polygamist is threatening to file a lawsuit after being denied a marriage license for his second wife after same-sex marriage was legalized.

Nathan Collier, 46, said Wednesday that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide inspired him to try to expand the definition of marriage to polygamy, according to the Associated Press.

Here’s what you need to know:



1. He Applied for a Second Marriage License on Tuesday

Nathan Collier, polygamy, Sister Wives, victoria, christine

(Facebook)

Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine visited the Yellowstone County Courthouse on Tuesday in an attempt to legalize their polygamous marriage. Bigamy, or the holding of more than one marriage license, is illegal in Montana and all 50 states. There are penitential consequences for bigamy in the state. Montana State Law states:

(1) A person commits the offense of bigamy if, while married, the person knowingly contracts or purports to contract another marriage unless at the time of the subsequent marriage.
(2) A person convicted of bigamy shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both.

The county clerk denied Collier’s marriage license request but told Collier that they would investigate his claims.


2. Montana’s Chief Civil Litigator Is Reviewing the Case

Nathan Collier, polygamy, Sister Wives, victoria, christine

Collier and his wives had previously appeared on TLC’s hit show about a polygamous family Sister Wives. (Facebook)

Yellowstone County chief civil litigator Kevin Gillen told the Associated Press that he was reviewing Montana’s bigamy laws, stating: “I think he deserves an answer…[but] the law simply doesn’t provide for that yet.”

Gillen told Collier that he would have an answer for him by next week. According to Collier, he has also contacted the ACLU to ask for legal representation but ACLU legal director Jim Taylor has stated that he has received no such request yet.


3. He’s Already Legally Married to Victoria

Collier is already legally married to his first wife, Victoria. They married in 2000. He then married his second wife, Christine, in 2007 but only in a religious ceremony to avoid bigamy charges.

Collier is a former Mormon who was excommunicated from the church for his belief in polygamy. Between him and his two wives they have seven children from their unions and previous marriages.


4. They Appeared on TLC’s ‘Sister Wives’

Collier and his wives had previously appeared on TLC’s hit show about a polygamous family Sister Wives.

They were also recently featured on a segment by local new-station KTVQ. You can watch that interview above.

“We just want to add legal legitimacy to an already happy, strong, loving family,” Collier told the news station.


5. Collier Says the Gay Marriage Ruling Strengthened Him

rainbow white house, supreme court gay marriage

Rainbow colored lights shine on the White House to celebrate todays US Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Today the high court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Collier told the Associated Press: “It’s about marriage equality… You can’t have [gay marriage] without polygamy.”

Same sex marriage became legal nationwide on June 27, in a narrow Supreme Court ruling of 5-4. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, cited the 14th Amendment as the basis for legalizing same sex marriage. You can read more about the ruling and the 14th Amendment here.

8 Comments

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8 Comments

Don Naylor

Terrilynn ~ You state that all the SCOTUS did was, ” change that TWO non-related adult human beings of the opposite sex or THE SAME SEX.” So, why wouldn’t they be able to change it to “TWO OR MORE non-related adult human beings (or living beings, for that matter) of the opposite sex or same sex” can enter into marriage? See how easy that was? Do the words slippery slope come to mind?

terrilynnmerritts

He is ignorant. Marriage laws in all 50 states allowed marriage between TWO non-related adult human beings of the opposite sex. The only thing the SCOTUS ruling did was change that to TWO non-related adult human beings of the opposite sex or the same sex. That’s all. Marriage equality means only that same sex couples can also marry and nothing else beyond that. You still can’t have multiple spouses at the same time, marry a close relative, marry a child or marry an animal or object. Bubba doesn’t look educated enough to understand that. SCOTUS found that the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause meant that if a state permits two non-related adult human beings of the opposite sex to marry, you can not exclude two non-related adult human beings of the same sex. These women must be desperate to want to marry something like that. I suspect they do want to have a three way marriage for the attention, publicity, and money they can get.

Jamie Ostrowski

Well why can’t we redefine that? At one time, marriage was defined as between 1 woman and one man, and that changed, so why not this? What’s wrong with love?!

TC.JeffPark

I just saw this guy on CNN discussing his lifestyle, relationship structure, and his opinion on the matter. I was actually surprised by his demeanor, candor, and the clarity of his thought process. He may not be classically educated, but he is smart. He had a big was of chewing tobacco in his lip and a camouflage hat, but he isn’t a redneck or a hick. He certainly wasn’t a wacko or zealot either. He made no attempt to convince anyone of the morality of his decisions, did not preach, remaining calm, coherent, and respectful throughout the conversation. Regardless, I ventured online in an attempt to find articles or info that relate to ulterior motives or even this individuals past activities to help me write this guy off as nuts and I really couldn’t find anything.

His main argument? He says that his marriage to his first wife is a fully separate and distinct relationship from his marriage with his second wife. He says they are not looking to engage in a three person union. He simply wants to give his second wife the same legal protection and guarantees that his first wife enjoys.

I am very interested to see where this goes. The case is bizarrely intriguing. His delivery of his case and level demeanor were quite compelling. I am still level with questions regarding authenticity and motive, but those reactions may be the result of conditioned responses and preconceived judgements rather than a response to these particular individuals and their lifestyle choices.

Nathan Collier

Hello, and thank you for your comments. We filed the lawsuit this morning and are preparing for the impending fight.
The CNN interview was done over Skype. I struggled to hear and reconstruct the questions in my mind before answering which made it awkward at best. I wish we’d had more time to prepare but it was a last minute interview under less than ideal conditions.

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