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Sister Wives Family Fights for Right to Live Like Polygamists

Sister Wives TLC

The family that stays together, sues together.

After becoming the target of a bigamy investigation, Sister Wives star Kody Brown and the four women he calls his wives have made good on a threat to file a complaint against the state of Utah, arguing that their civil rights are being violated because they dare to refer to themselves (and the soon to be 17 children among them) as one family.

What do they offer as evidence? For starters, an acknowledgment that Brown is only really married to one woman.

MORE: Then you've got your 19 Kids and Counting...

In the lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Utah, plaintiffs Kody, Meri, Janelle and Christine Brown and Robyn Sullivan (the newest spousal-esque addition to the family) states that Kody and Meri are the only ones with an official marriage license.

Therefore, the suit argues, they have been subject to a criminal investigation in Utah "solely because they call themselves a family in the eyes of their church." (View the lawsuit.)

(And, probably, because they've decided to cash in on their controversial lifestyle with a TLC show, but that's neither here nor there.)

As for the fact that Kody is perceived to be romantically involved with all four women, "Adults are allowed to live openly in such intimate relationships so long as they do not commit a collateral crime, such as acquiring multiple marriage licenses in violation of anti-bigamy provisions."

People freely commit adultery and live together out of wedlock, the complaint continues, and the Browns' arrangement is just another way of looking at things.

GALLERY: Check out some slightly smaller famous families

(Originally published July 13, 2011, at 5:40 p.m. PT)

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