UPDATE: News broke Thursday afternoon that the Idaho State Liquor Division decided to reverse its ban on Five Wives Vodka.
A Utah-based vodka maker could soon sue Idaho for the state’s lack of a sense of humor.
Ogden’s Own Distillery yesterday threatened to sue Idaho for banning the sale of its Five Wives Vodka. According to the state, the liquor offends its more than 400,000 Mormon residents—who make up more than one-third of its entire population—because of its references to polygamy, or plural marriage. On top of that, Mormons don’t drink alcohol.
The vodka company has hired Jonathan Turley, a lawyer and professor at George Washington University, to plead its case. Turley sent a letter to the Idaho State Liquor Division yesterday accusing officials of interfering with interstate commerce and restricting Ogden’s Own Distillery’s free speech.
“I am, frankly, astonished by the vitriol and venom directed at this small company,” he wrote. “It is clear from the continuing attacks from your office that nothing short of a lawsuit will compel your agency to reconsider its decision” to ban the sale of Five Wives Vodka in the state.
Turley also has represented the Brown family, who are featured on TLC’s “Sister Wives,” a reality show that documents their polygamous lifestyle. Last year he filed a lawsuit in Utah, asking the state not to criminalize the plural family’s cohabitation choices. Last week, prosecutors announced that they wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against the Browns.