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Lockwood polygamist family seeks right to marriage - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Lockwood polygamist family seeks right to marriage

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BILLINGS -

Given the Supreme Courts recent ground breaking decision on gay marriage, one Lockwood family is now looking to solidify rights of its own.

We first told you about the Colliers in January when the polygamist family appeared on an episode of the TLC show "Sister Wives."  

The polyamorous movement is a national push to allow marriage between multiple partners.

46-year-old Nathan Collier and his two wives, Vicki and Christine, said Tuesday that they are simply looking for equality.

Nathan is legally married to Vicki, but is looking to also legally wed Christine. The family has a total of seven children, all from previous relationships.

On Tuesday, Nathan and Christine traveled to the Yellowstone County Courthouse to see if they would be awarded the right to marry under the Marriage Equality Act.

The Collier's practice polygamy, but it is illegal under Montana state law and recognized as a misdemeanor offense. Collier is formerly of the Mormon faith. He was excommunicated from the religion. 

"We just want to add legal legitimacy to an already happy, strong, loving family," said Nathan.

As the two filled out their marriage application they were met with questions.

"There's a spot on there where you put the dissolution date of your previous marriage and we put not applicable," said Christine.

In fact, the couple was met with varied reaction from employees caught off guard.

"So, are you legally married, you didn't get divorced?" asked one clerk.

"We're not even asking for acceptance, we're just asking for tolerance. Let us live our lives together without fear," said Nathan.

The question at hand, could the Marriage Equality Act extend to polygamists? That part isn't quite clear.

"We'll have to deny that, let me go grab the other supervisor real quick so I can get confirmation but as far as I'm aware you can't be married to two people at the same time," said a clerk at the courthouse.

The Colliers were initially denied the license, and the clerk later returned to tell the couple that they would have to check with the Attorney Generals Office.

When asked for comment, the Attorney General's Office referred MTN News to two sections of Montana law stating polygamy is illegal.

"It's two distinct marriages, it's two distinct unions, and for us to come together and create family, what's wrong with that?" said Christine. "I don't understand why it's looked upon and frowned upon as being obscene."

The couple's goal is to have their story heard. The Colliers say if the state of Montana could only recognize their marriage as legal, it could be the catalyst for other states to follow suit. 

"All we want is legal legitimacy. We aren't asking anybody for anything else. We just want to give our marriage and our family the legitimacy that it deserves," said Nathan.

MTN News is still awaiting to hear whether or not the marriage application was officially denied. 

If it's accepted, it would be the first in the nation.

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