My brother-in-law sent me four photos of Republican Presidential aspirants (Rudy, Mitt, Newt, and John) with the now-famous quip: the only one who’s only had one wife is the Mormon.
It reminds me of this article, to which my friend Russ just alerted me in my hometown Tennessee paper. In 1903, writes Mark Shields, Republican Reed Smoot of Utah became the first Mormon ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
The public hostility to Smoot’s religious faith and its earlier practice of polygamy (which the church had formally outlawed in 1890) was so intense that for four years, the Senate refused to seat him.
Smoot was finally able to assume his office after the personal intervention on his behalf by President Teddy Roosevelt and after one of his Senate colleagues, citing Smoot’s one marriage to one woman, observed memorably, “I’d rather serve with a polygamist who doesn’t polyg than a monogamist who doesn’t monog.”