Sex or No Sex?

I just had breakfast at the Best Western Cottontree in Provo, and will be travelling up to SLC today for Sunstone. As I read the SL Tribune, I saw that Tom Green has just been released from prison. Apparently he will live in a quadplex with his four remaining wives (the fifth has bailed in the meantime, and it is a condition of his parole that he have no contact with either her or her five children).

He will only be allowed to cohabit with his legal wife; the others are close so that he can be a father to his many children. But he is not permitted to sleep with them; this would be a violation of his parole, and he could be sent back to prison for doing so.

Someone (I forget who, possibly his attorney) wondered what the state’s interest is in preventing him from having a series of what amounts to extramarital affairs, particularly since his legal wife would know and consent? The state counters that, while normally it does not act against simple polygamous relationships, this is a different case. Tom was convicted in part for bigamy, and allowing him to live as man and wife with his other spiritual wives would be a violation of his parole.

Tom indicates that he has every intention of abiding by the conditions of his parole, and his wives have expressed the same so as to keep him out of prison. But I can imagine it might be difficult, since he will be living under the same roof with three other women he considers to be his wives.

So what do you think about this? Should the state insist on no sex, or should it not care? Discuss. (I’m travelling so will not be able to check in on this thread until later.)


  1. The state has no business in our bedrooms. It’s just that simple.

  2. Adam Greenwood says:

    Are you asking why the state would have an interest in prohibiting extramarital affairs in general, even ones with consent, or are you asking why such should be a condition of this parole when it isn’t generally?

  3. I assume he’s asking the second of Adam’s questions. I have to confess that I don’t know a whole lot about parole, but it seems like a parole board is always permitted to set conditions on parole that don’t generally apply, to the extent, even, of being invasive (stuff like getting a job, not drinking, not going near the ex-girlfriend or any friends who were drug dealers, doing community service) (note that I’m making all of this stuff up, but I have a vague sense that I’ve heard some of these requirements before).

    I don’t know how I feel about the no-sex requirements (okay, I do: I don’t really care, because Tom Green—the polygamist or the comedian, take your pick—has absolutely no impact on my life), but, contra Dan, while the state has no business in our bedrooms, it may well have business in the bedroom (and worklife, and drinking choices, etc.) of a parolee.

  4. How is this even enforceable?

  5. Mike Parker says:

    Personally, I don’t care who he has sexual intercourse with, as long as he takes responsibility for the children that come from those encounters. When he starts nuzzling up to the public feeding trough, then it becomes my business.

    Somehow I suspect, in our modern Through-The-Looking-Glass society, that Tom Green will be prevented from having sex but will still be drawing a welfare check to pay for his vast litter.

  6. Nick Literski says:

    When it comes to parole and/or probation, a convicted person gives up certain rights in order to enjoy certain freedoms, such as avoiding further incarceration. In that sense, the parties have agreed to these conditions, and who are we to step in and question them? Tom Green has a choice. He can agree to these conditions, and thus be available as a father to his children, or he can make a political/social statement by remaining incarcerated rather than suffer these conditions. I wouldn’t fault him for the latter, and I don’t think I can fault him for the former.

  7. Thanks Nick. That’s what I thought, but I didn’t actually know.

  8. what was he tried for initially? why is the no sex part of his parole? I thought it was because he was getting all this money from the government untruthfully or something. It surprises me that it would be part of his parole.
    I wonder if his wives are secretly happy to not have to have sex with him.

  9. Re: #4 “How is this even enforceable?”

    They had an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet for Lindsey Lohan; I’m sure they could come up with a similar device for good ol’ Mr. Green… ;-)

  10. Latter-day Guy says:

    Well, Matt, RE:4

    It involves a modified “ankle bracelet” and a shock collar, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to elaborate…

  11. I don’t believe there is a man alive given the choice of sex or no sex would take no sex.

    Honestly, why does the state care? Unless it starts prosecuting adulterers it should really seek more effective ways to rein Tommy in.

  12. Mondo Cool says:

    RE #4:

    Daily swab tests?

  13. ronito,
    Whether or not you believe a man alive, given the choice of sex or no sex would take no sex (although if the choice is no sex out of jail or being in jail with no sex, it doesn’t look like that would be a primary consideration), Tom Green’s deal isn’t no sex. It’s no sex with three of four (not four of four) women.

  14. Same rule applies. If you had no moral compunction about it I don’t know of a man that would take the no sex with 3 of 4 when they could have 4 of 4. Honestly unless they are going to swab him and test for DNA or place some sort of unknown piece of technology on him this is like that whole Bush taking full responsibility in the Katrina aftermath thing. He says it, makes you feel nice, but come on, who really believes it?

  15. ronito,
    While I don’t accept your premise, even assuming that no man would take no sex with 3 of 4 when he could have sex with 4 of 4, that’s not his choice. He’s currently in jail (or, rather, was in jail when he made the decision). Therefore, his choice was no sex and incarceration or sex with one (not four) woman and freedom.

    As for enforcement mechanisms, I don’t know. How do they enforce no alcohol probation requirements, or the requirement to stay away from your hoodlum friends?

  16. Mondo Cool:

    ewww. I’m telling. :)

  17. I had the same question as Matt W., but I figured I wouldn’t like some of the possibilities that would be given in response – even with my perverse sense of humor. I was wrong. :-)

  18. I’m guessing that there will be no “monitoring” of his sexual activity, and that it’s a condition of his parole *not* to prevent him from having sex with his wives, but to prevent him from having any more children by those women. Thus, if any of them end up pregnant, and tests verify that he’s the father, that will be a parole violation and he can be sent back to prison.

    But for an alternate view of his parole conditions…”No sex with the other wives” seems a little heavy handed, but the law has traditionally seen sexual congress as evidence of a legal marriage (which is why marriages can be annulled if the marriage was never consummated). In this case we’re seeing the flip side – the law says he *can’t* be married to all these women, and they will consider sex to be evidence of an “illegal” marriage. That’s the only way I can figure it, anyway…

  19. What would the case be if he tried to have sex with another woman who was not one of his wives? Same rules? Different ballgame? Seems like a mighty shady area.

  20. #18:
    Annulment is allowed in most State jurisdictions (which Govern Marriage)when a fraud which goes to the heart of the marriage that is discovered post marriage. Consumated or not consumated isn’t the only – or in many cases – any factor.

  21. Lon – I should have articulated that consummation *used* to be a major factor in determining the “legality” of a marriage. And the law certainly looks to tradition, particularly when complicated/unprecedented situations arise. I only raised the point to suggest that the stipulation that he not have sex with his three other wives was possibly related in some way to the older legal views of what constituted a marriage.

  22. Re: prison and sex … Hasn’t anyone seen Oz?

  23. I believe that a Zion society would not have sent him to jail for polygamous relationships and therefore a Zion society should not care.

    But of course we don’t live in a Zion society, we live in Utah!

  24. Mariano MARINI says:

    The state has business in our bed?
    I think that Tom answered this question, in his own regarding.
    The real strange thing, from my point of view, is that the state put in jail a ‘legally’ married to two or more wife and let free who has two or more ‘illegal’ wifes!
    Poligamy is a crime and adultery not? Why?
    The same happen here in Italy, is not a matter of Utah.

  25. a random John says:

    Can he have sex with other women that are not his wives in any way?

  26. Kudos to Banky for resuscitating an almost extinct term: “sexual congress.”

    Just think. Two hundred years ago “intercourse” meant business (and not in the red-light district) and became sex only with the adjective “sexual.”
    Where would we be today if “sexual congress” had followed the same path as its cousin “sexual intercourse”? What would you think when it is reported that “congress” has the lowest approval rating in 50 years? The comedic possibilities are endless!

  27. I think that aRJ makes a good point though in an indirect way. Whether the state allows him to marry more than one woman, it should certainly not be able to regulate whether he has sex with other women, and especially if his legal wife approves and supports that behavior. This is analogous to the idea that Chief Justice Durham took in the Holm case a year or two back, that if a polygamist wants to marry one wife legally, he can marry others as long as he does not seek to have that marriage recognized by the state in any way.

  28. Nick hit the hammer on the head with his comment(#6) but I think it raises another question. No doubt he is going to agree with what ever will get him out of prison. Now that he is out, how hard will it be for him not to resume his relations with his wife’s? Even knowing the consequences of his actions, in his mind he is morally right. This case isn’t the same as the typical drug user or convicted robber sent to prison. They know somewhat that not using drugs will make them better, or that stealing from someone is essentially wrong; no matter how good they are at rationalizing it.

  29. One point that I do not understand is:
    Adultery is perfectly legal (excluding the military). Dating multiple partners is legal.

    But when you make a committed long-term relationship with more than one person for time and eternity, it is some how deemed illegal (at least for time).

    Laws should stop where no victims are present. Bedroom included.