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The Right to Adultery


Last year, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that it is unconstitutional for states to make homosexual sodomy illegal, many conservatives—prominently Sen. Rick Santorum—pointed out that the logic of such a ruling would make it hard to defend laws that ban other kinds of deviant sexual behavior (such as incest) as well as gay marriage (and polygamy, for that matter). For this, of course, they were labeled homophobic bigots. Well, the prediction about gay marriage has already come true, and now perhaps the former will, too. The American Civil Liberties Union will, according to an article in yesterday’s Washington Post , join an argument “that the Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down anti-sodomy laws also should apply to adultery,” which is a misdemeanor subject to a $250 fine in Virginia. The article quotes the ACLU’s Virginia executive director: “When this [adultery] case came to us, we looked at Lawrence v. Texas, and it seemed absolutely clear that the state could not criminalize private adultery any more than it could criminalize private sodomy.” Or, say, private incest between consenting adults (as just the next step).


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