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Monday, May 2, 2011

Cleaning Up the Law Books

Here’s an article about silly or outdated laws still cluttering law books. Mississippi has laws against teaching someone about polygamy, cohabitation outside of marriage, having children outside of marriage, and “seducing a woman by promising matrimony carries a sentence of up to five years in jail, providing she was ‘of previous chaste character.’”

“The law is a fundamentally conservative thing, typically not very progressive, and it seeks to embrace and protect the social status quo,” said Matt Steffe, a professor at Mississippi College’s law school. “As such, laws provide a snapshot of what was important to society at the time they were enacted. We think they are silly, but they were certainly serious to the people who enacted them. We can’t predict what may look silly to people 100 years from now.”

Steffe and others at MC’s law school are working on a project to modernize the state’s criminal code. He said his group will identify antiquated laws or wording, then bring it before the Legislature “as one global package” recommending changes.

Repeal all laws banning marriages, cohabitation, or sex between consenting adults.

I suggest a state-level variation of the Marriage Equality Amendment:

The right to marry or to personal consortium shall not be abridged or denied in this state on account of sex, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, consanguinity, or number of participants.
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