Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More States Should be Like New Jersey

At least when it comes to incest laws. Jeanette Friedman has a commentary in which she appears to be really upset that New Jersey allows consenting adults to have sex with each other.

In the Soprano state where vice is nice, incest is best and legal among consenting adults.

And what is the problem with that? She seems to think there is, but doesn’t asttempt to provide even the most weak reason, as you’ll see.

It is incredible that in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie and Congressmen Chris Smith and Scott Garrett are political paragons of virtue, incest among consenting adults is perfectly legal, but therapeutic abortions to save the life of a mother won't be if those same men have their way.

Therapeutic abortions to save the life of a mother should of course be legal, as should sex between consenting adults.

Looks like the language in HR 3, HR 217, and HR 358, Congressional bills designed to do an end run around Roe v. Wade, was born in New Jersey. It’s also a sneaky way to make incest legal in America, since all three bills state incest only applies to people under 18.

I have not studied the bills. I suspect they are more about (not) funding abortion. Actually banning abortion would likely fail a court test. But it would be great if the laws actually will change incest laws to decriminalize consensual sex. Incest should only be illegal as part of an actual crime with a victim: rape, statutory rape, child abuse, etc. It is not a problem if an adult brother has sex with his consenting adult sister or his adult brother, or if all three of them have sex together. It is a problem when a 45-year-old does something with a 12-year-old, whether they are related or not.

New Jersey does not apply any penalties when both parties engaged in incest are 18 years of age or older.

This is to the state’s credit. Good for New Jersey.

The Bergen County prosecutor I spoke to, who stayed on background, wouldn’t say outright that it was legal and kept referring to sexual assault. He asked me to read the sexual assault statute, and I kept asking, “What if the victim doesn’t understand that this is sexual assault? What if Daddy is in control?” There was no comment — but they won't prosecute if the victim is 18+.

She goes on to write that “incest is always rape.”

So let’s see if I understand this. A woman can run corporations, operate machinery and motor vehicles, be trusted with guns and law enforcement, run into burning buildings to save people as part of their job, be Secretary of State, be Speaker of the House, consent to abortion (even if she is 13), join the military, vote, and can date ten men at once, all of whom are fifty years older than her. But she can’t possibly consent to have sex with her own father, nor her mother, nor her brother, not her sister.

Do I have that right?

This, of course, is Discredited Argument #20.

We have laws against child abuse, sexual assault, rape, and statutory rape, and they should be strongly enforced regardless of who the perp is. There is no need to have a law against any kind of sex between consenting adults. If a young adult woman is unable, in the writer's view, to truly consent to sex with her father, does that ever change? How about when she is 30 and he is 60? When she is 40 and he is 70?

It may disgust her, but a lot of people are (or were) disgusted by gay sex and interracial sex, too. Their disgust is not a good enough reason to criminalize the sex lives of others. (See #1)

An adult should have the right to love, sex, and marriage with any other adult.
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