Abolition of adultery: A slippery slope to . . .
Jonathan Turley has a commentary at USA Today titled “Adultery, in many states, is still a crime.” He writes: ”Across the country, some social conservatives are fighting for what they view as a critical article of faith: criminal adultery laws . . . About two dozen states still have criminal adultery provisions. While prosecutions remain rare, they do occur. And beyond the criminal realm, these provisions can be cited in divorce proceedings, custody disputes, employment cases and even to bar people from serving on juries . . . ” Equating public morality with savagery, Turley argues that adultery laws are part of a “Puritan” tradition that should be abolished. He concludes: ”This country has matured to the point that we can put away criminalized moral codes and leave such matters to individual citizens, their families and their respective faiths. It is time to allow couples to police their own marriages.”
Abolition of adultery undermines promotion of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and woman. Yet, Turley summarily announces that adultery laws violate the Constitution despite a clear historical record that argues to the contrary. One aspect of the slippery slope is readily illustrated in the AP today (04/26/2010): Accused polygamist says cheating French lifestyle. A man with multiple wives apparently argues or implies that a Muslim’s polygamy is comparable to a Frenchman’s mistresses.
Can a society that allows unbridled adultery rationally prohibit polygamy? The abolition of adultery raises many such dilemmas.