Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives

The 46-year-old polygamist said he decided to act in the wake of recent Supreme Court decision

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The Independent US

Nathan Collier said he was inspired by the recent Supreme Court decision that made marriage equal. He said he was particularly struck by the words of dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts who claimed giving gay couples the right to marry, might inspire polygamy.

And so this week, Mr Collier and his two wives, Victoria and Christine, entered a courthouse in Billings, Montana, and sought an application to legalise the trio’s polygamous union.

“Right now we're waiting for an answer," Mr Collier told The Independent. “I have two wives because I love two women and I want my second wife to have the same legal rights and protection as my first.”

He added: "Most people are not us. I am not trying to define what marriage means for anybody else - I am trying to define what marriage means for us."

The practice of bigamy - holding multiple marriage licences - is outlawed in all 50 of the US states, Montana among them. But Mr Collier said he planned to sue if his application was denied.

Mr Collier said he was former Mormon who had been excommunicated for polygamy and now owned a refrigeration business in Billings.

He married his first wife, Victoria, 40, in 2000. The 46-year-old, who appeared in the reality TV show Sister Wives, held a religious ceremony to marry second wife, Christine, in 2007 but did not sign a marriage license to avoid bigamy charges.

His first wife, Victoria, said that she and her husband's second wife got along "like sisters".

"We're like any family. There are good days and there are bad days," she said. "But there are more good days."

Asked how she felt when her husband took a second wife, she said: "How can you know who you are going to fall in love with? This is our destiny."

Yellowstone County clerk officials initially denied Mr Collier's application, then said they would consult with the county legal officer before giving him a final answer.

Yellowstone County chief civil litigator Kevin Gillen, told the Associated Press that he was reviewing Montana's bigamy laws and expected to send a formal response to Mr Collier by next week.

Mr Gillen said: “I think he deserves an answer.”