The bill still needs to be approved by the state's House of Representatives.
Mores serious crimes, such as coerced bigamy, would be treated as a felony. But critics warn it could empower abusers.
Under the proposal, having more than one spouse - or bigamy - would be considered a misdemeanour, on utan par with a traffic violation. Related Topics.
Under current laws, anyone found to have multiple spouses could face up to five years in prison. Mormon founder 'had up to 40 wives' It now excommunicates anyone who practises polygamy but a of fundamentalist Mormon offshoots continue to do so.
Proponents of the bill argue it would remove the secrecy surrounding communities which practise polygamy and allow victims to report abuse. Inpolygamist Tom Green became the first man to be convicted of bigamy in more wivew half a century over his marriage to five women.
The state is home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, which accepted polygamy in its early history before banning it in While plural marriage is illegal under Utah's constitution, officials in the state have largely chosen not to prosecute those involved. He was later also sentenced for child rape after one of his wives became pregnant when she was 13 years old.
About 30, people are thought to live in polygamous communities in Utah, according to the Associated Press.