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This result was disappointing to Darger. But he's a realist. "I know most people don't want polygamy," he says. "I just want it to be decriminalized." It's a tricky issue. Taking Joe and other fathers to prison, away from their children, would seem to make matters worse for all. But well-meaning and charming as the Dargers are, their choices may hurt the society they live in.
One of their daughters is married, and another is engaged. Laura, 19, already has a son. So far the Dargers' children are monogamous, although they've married within their community. They're still young, but one of his daughters recently told her sister that she couldn't imagine sharing her husband.