Massachusetts: the limits of gender equality
A Massachusetts man who showed an inordinate interest in a woman’s foot—if you really must know, the story is here—faces charges for “annoying a person of the opposite sex.”
Yes, there really is a law in Massachusetts that prohibits annoying a person of the opposite sex. This could be a shock to many grammar-school boys, although the statute is clearly not aimed at their antics.
To win a conviction, prosecutors must prove five elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the final of which is "that [the alleged victim] was a person of the opposite sex."
Two men or two women can be legally married in Massachusetts. But annoyance is still strictly a heterosexual affair.
[H/T James Taranto, Opinion Journal.]
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Posted by: Cornelius -
Aug. 24, 2010 1:11 PM ET USA
"An act or language is offensive when it is contrary to the prevailing sense of what is decent or moral." The prevailing sense? So this act is as protean as the prevailing sense of decency and morality.
Posted by: michaelwilmes -
Aug. 24, 2010 9:20 AM ET USA
Since when has either "creepy" or "silly" stopped any of our clown- legislators from enacting laws?? The insane are indeed running the asylum.
Posted by: Wild Bill -
Aug. 23, 2010 5:20 PM ET USA
You have to admit that legislating to prohibit non-consensual licking of another person's foot is even more silly and a lot creepier.