In the state of Utah, living a polygamist lifestyle is illegal. In December 2013, U.S. Federal Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that while “the portions of Utah’s anti-polygamy laws which prohibit multiple cohabitations were unconstitutional,” he allowed the state to maintain its ban on multiple marriage licenses.
The ban on letting one person hold multiple marriage licenses to different people at the same time has made it difficult for groups like the Briney family.
The Briney family has allowed TLC to follow their journey as a polygamist family. Drew, the patriarch, has three wives—first wife April, second wife, Auralee, and third wife, Angela.Screenshot/TLC
The show, “Seeking Sister Wife,” details the family’s journey of moving all three wives and 14 children under one roof. While excited about the process of having his entire family living together, Drew explained the issues that arise from it:
“Polygamy isn’t just illegal, it’s on everyone’s radar. As a plural family, having multiple wives in different homes, you can live a lot more conspicuously. Moving everyone all together into one home, it’s a lot more difficult to be discrete. We are taking a lot bigger risk.”
According to the family, the reason for moving from separate homes into one big home is because financially, it became too much having each wife live in their own house.
Angela admitted that because she’s is the newest wife with a newborn child, it’s “terrifying” for her to see their neighbors poking around— they could report her family to the state.
It’s because of the legal issues associated with their lifestyle that Angela wonders how they are going to introduce themselves once it’s time to interact with the neighbors.
Auralee explained why they can’t necessarily be honest with those around them:
“If we are completely open and say this is who we are, this is the truth about our family, it means devastating consequences for us. We as a family have chosen to be on this television show even though the risks we face for doing it are drastic. We do it because we need the public to know what we’re really like we need to shatter the prejudice that is against us. We need something to change for the thousands of other polygamist families out there. We need to be free.”
Because April is Drew’s only state-sanctioned marriage, it’s Drew, Auralee, and Angela who face prison time if caught living a polygamist lifestyle.
And it’s because Auralee and Angela’s marriages aren’t recognized by the state that Auralee and Angela’s children aren’t allowed to call Drew dad in public or be seen playing in the front yard of their home. Only April’s children have the freedom of doing those things.
Angela suggested that it’s important for their family to come up with a story to avoid the possibility of being broken apart.
Watch the Briney’s segment in the video below: