Wasting time on a victimless crime
What goes on behind between consenting adults is their own business, is it not?
After all, once you close your front door and settle down in your own home, you can do what you want as long as you're not harming anyone.
Well, not quite.
A couple were up in front of the beak in Ennis this week when it emerged that they had been offering sex for €200 an hour. Spanish national David Navaro (50) and his Brazilian-born wife, Celia Galan (41) don't fit the average stereotype of the downtrodden sex worker, and they didn't even realise they were breaking the law when they advertised their services, arguing that it is quite common, and certainly not illegal, in Spain.
The judge in Ireland, however, was of a different mind and he fined them €600 each, adding: "This activity is against the law and the court doesn't approve of this type of activity."
What's interesting about this case is that the local cops expressed surprise at just how cooperative the couple appeared to be, and it is quite obvious from the reported testimony that they are not criminals and the law is an ass.
In just the same way that you didn't have to be gay to vote Yes for gay marriage, you don't need to be an avid user of prostitutes to realise that criminalising the consensual arrangements between willing adults of sound mind is simply madness.
It is also, even more importantly, nobody's bloody business what they get up to.
We still have a weird attitude towards prostitution in this country and it is interesting to look at how it provides an intersection between religious conservatives and liberal conservatives (that's no longer an oxymoron, by the way, some liberals are the most ban-happy, conservative people you could ever meet).
Both sides have come to the same conclusion via a different path, but they are both calling for the same thing - control over behaviour they don't like.
Mr Navaro and Ms Galan may pursue an unusual career, but where were the victims and why are the Gardaí and courts wasting time on a victimless 'crime'?
As long as people freely choose how to live their life, and aren't coerced or pressured into doing something they don't want to do, it is none of your concern, or mine, what they do.
We still cling to the pernicious idea that if we don't approve of something then nobody else should be allowed to do it - and that's small-minded and mean-spirited.
It's also dangerous for sex workers who have to operate below the radar and expose themselves to greater risk as a result.
Prostitution should be taxed, not criminalised.