Wednesday 21 February 2018

US state to scrap law that punishes adulterers

Although convictions for adultery in the US are rare, they are not unknown. Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
Although convictions for adultery in the US are rare, they are not unknown. Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

David Millward US Correspondent

LEGISLATORS in New Hampshire are voting to repeal a law dating back to 1791 which outlaws adultery.

In all, 21 states still have laws on the books which ban married men and women having sex with anyone other than their spouse. Gradually these statutes, many of which date back to the early days of the United States are disappearing, but not without a fight.

Opponents say that the repeal is further evidence of moral decay in the country.

But supporters of the move, which has bipartisan support, say the reform is long overdue.

Tim O'Flaherty, a Democrat member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told reporters: "It ... treats women as if they were the property of men. It is at least 10 years since it was enforced."

The reform has cleared the state's lower house and Maggie Hassan, the state's governor, said she would ratify the change if it clears the senate.

Under the current law offenders face a $1,200 (€867) fine if convicted.

Although convictions for adultery in the US are rare, they are not unknown.

In 1983 police in Massachusetts caught a couple – who were not married to each other – having sex in a van. The woman, who disputed the charge, was fined $50. The punishment could have been far worse, with Massachusetts setting a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment for the offence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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