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the adultery lobby

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 14, 2009

There are only so many hours in a day. Most of us don’t accomplish nearly as much as we set out to do. Consequently, most of us learn to put the most important projects at the top of our to-do lists. Or to put it differently, when you see someone doing X, it’s reasonable to infer that he could be doing Y, but he considers X more important.

In New Hampshire, a few earnest lawmakers feel that it’s important to repeal the state law against adultery. No matter that the law is never enforced. No matter that the penalty has been reduced to a fine—which a judge would probably waive, in the highly unlikely event that a perpetrator was tried and convicted. Of all the causes they might have pursued, these state legislators have chosen to seek repeal of the adultery law.

You ask yourself: Why?

Who suffers because this law is still on the books? Nobody.

More to the point, who stands to gain if it comes off the books. Adulterers. Not just any adulterers, since, again, this law is not enforced. The only adulterers whose extra-marital dalliances could possibly attract a prosecutor’s attention are the flagrant adulterers: the “swingers.”

Maybe the legislators are looking into the future, and anticipating changes in social attitudes so that prosecutors would begin pressing charges against adulterers. They want to guard against that frightening prospect. Because as we all know, adultery is a victimless crime. Just ask Tiger Woods. Or his wife. Or their children. 

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Dec. 18, 2009 11:57 PM ET USA

    Evidence of, or admission of adultery is useful as leverage either inside or outside of a divorce or family law court -- but only when it is in the criminal code. Without adultery being criminalized it would be considered just another lifestyle choice such as preferring tea to coffee.

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