The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints minors who were seized from the cult's Texas compound will be Yearning For Zion no longer — the Texas Supreme court has upheld a lower court's decision, and declared that the removal of children from the FLDS stronghold was unwarranted. Church spokesman Rod Parker says, "at this point there is no legal basis to hold anyone," and he wants the children to be reunited with their parents as soon as possible. What happens next is not entirely clear, according to the Los Angeles Times, because while the removal of the children was ruled unwarranted, the state is still allowed to "take other measures to protect [the children] while [the trial court] deliberated." Those measures, legal experts believe, could include requiring parents to stay in the area and/or move out of the Yearning For Zion ranch in addition to further DNA testing, the L.A. Times reports.
Three of the Texas Supreme court members wrote in a dissenting opinion that while the Department of Family and Protective Services was wrong to take all the children, there was proper evidence given in order to remove adolescent girls from "a pattern or practice of sexual abuse."
While the Department of Family and Protective Services clearly abused power, some of the evidence presented by the Department was incredibly damning. According to the Texas Supreme Court decision, "the Department presented 'Bishop's Records'- documents seized from the Ranch - indicating the presence of several extremely young mothers or pregnant 'wives' on the Ranch: a sixteen-year-old 'wife' with a child, a sixteen-year-old pregnant 'wife,' two pregnant fifteen-year-old "wives," and a thirteen-year-old who had conceived a child." The expert witness from the FLDS themselves "confirmed that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints accepts the age of 'physical development' (that is, first menstruation) as the age of eligibility for 'marriage.'"