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Thread: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

  1. #1

    Default Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    I've heard so many stories of violent revenge including murder and attempted murder as a direct consequence of infidelity that I now wholeheartedly believe that when marriage vows are broken the offending party should be held responsible as should the individual with whom the infidelity is commited. I'm not saying lock'em up for ten years but fines and community service as well as publishing the offence in the newspaper. It's just way too easy to eff around and perhaps if there were a legal recourse , at least some violent acts wouldn't be commited.

    I also think just about everyone is capable of infidelity as well, given the proper temptation. Fidelity should be something that, as a society we support and promote and if the message is sent that choosing a married sexual partner has serious negative consequences, people might think twice.
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    Flashaholic* powernoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    When Powernoodle rules the globe, infidelity will be a capital offense.

    I respectfully dissent from your assertion that everyone is capable of infidelity. I cannot fathom the circumstances under which I would be unfaithful.

    Sorry, Ladies, I'm taken.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Hey Powernoodle, for most folks who find find infidelity hard to fathom (like myself) I'd say it would involve being in a situation where the signifigant others fidelity was in doubt (perhaps even without reason), mix in the proper amount of alcohol plus blatant opportunity from a highly desireable 'other'. Granted, I don't even drink alcohol and for some people blatant opportunity from a highly desireable partner might be an absolute impossibility. It's kind of like folks who say they couldn't shoot and kill another human being, the hypothetical situation might be ludicrously unlikely but as long as the trigger could be pulled, there is a situation where most would.

    Of course, the above wouldn't work if a person has a seriously embarassing sexual issue like one of those pump type ED devices, a micropenis, a bad STD outbreak, paralyzing social anxiety, extremely low ability to become aroused etc. Saying there isn't a situation where one would be unfaithful is just about the same as saying that if their current partner died, they'd never take another partner. If that's the case, yeah, I'd believe them incapable of infidelity.
    Last edited by xochi; 03-06-2006 at 08:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    I have an idea! Perhaps branding a big letter "A" on the forehead of the offending party!

    No, it's not the 17th century. Infidelity should not be illegal. It can be wrong, unethical, repugnant, and stupid - but not illegal. There can also be legal consequences of infidelity in a civil setting - divorce court, for example. But making infidelity illegal is the same as making marriage a prison. Ultimately, marriage is a voluntary institution, and trying to enforce criminal penalties (as opposed to civil ones) is, simply, wrong.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sturluson
    I have an idea! Perhaps branding a big letter "A" on the forehead of the offending party!

    No, it's not the 17th century. Infidelity should not be illegal. It can be wrong, unethical, repugnant, and stupid - but not illegal. There can also be legal consequences of infidelity in a civil setting - divorce court, for example. But making infidelity illegal is the same as making marriage a prison. Ultimately, marriage is a voluntary institution, and trying to enforce criminal penalties (as opposed to civil ones) is, simply, wrong.
    Marriage is voluntary. Voluntarily begun and voluntarily ended, having criminal consequences for not respecting the person by infidelity doesn't make it a prison. Marriages can be ended with respect and diginity afforded to the person they loved enough to marry.
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Having civil penalties for not respecting your marriage partner is reasonable and justifiable. Having criminal penalties tends to make marriage - oh yes - a prison. Prisons are not just about punishment, they are about retribution. Civil penalties are real, quantifiable and, for most people, painful. The distinctions are clear, immutable and compelling. They are quite obvious, also...

    Enough of this jousting over black and white. It's more challenging to discuss shades of grey. Must get some work done!

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    you guys are working from the assumption that you will be able to prove it. Anybody that has sat in, or sat through a real divorce proceeding will know exactly how crooked that racket is and how truth and justice has no place in those hallowed halls.

    And you're skipping over all the stories of redemption and forgiveness that don't make the news.

    In any case, I'm not terribly worried that your vision of the government putting me to death for glancing sideways at another woman will come to pass. Too many politicians do a lot more than glance

    How about setting an example for your friends and your children by being devoted to your own partner and let the rabble diddle and kill each other over it. Thats what I'm doing.
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    Flashaholic Ras_Thavas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Well, in Virginia there is a code on the books making Adultery a crime.

    18.2-365. Adultery defined; penalty. Any person, being married, who voluntarily shall have sexual intercourse with any person not his or her spouse shall be guilty of adultery, punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor.


    I'm not sure if anyone has been charged with this offense recently though.

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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    James S, you hit the nail on the head. We should worry about ourselves, not the penalties for others.

    Now I really have to get some work done...

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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    I have been married for 27 years in a week, and while I love my wife and cannot imagine being unfaithful, I also have trouble making moral issues illegal. Where does it stop? I know some will argue a lot of laws impose moral values, yes, to an extent, but this would be getting in deeper than I for one am comfortable with. Where does it stop if we do something like this? If you go that route, would not divorce be illegal as it is also breaking the marriage contract/vows? Till death do us part? No I dont think that would be a good idea...

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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    While I agree infidelity is one of the worst things a person could do, fact is the idea of marriage is fundamentally flawed. While some people can certainly remain loyal to one partner, it's not inherent in our genetic makeup to do so. Therefore, infidelity shouldn't be illegal, and I'll go one step further and say that being married to more than one person at the same time should be allowed as well. The government shouldn't meddle in moral matters like this at all.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Drugs , prostitution, child support....all moral issues with criminal penalties. The practice in the US is to legislate morality. I'd support getting out of it alltogether and agree in that case infidelity shouldn't be illegal....
    Last edited by xochi; 03-06-2006 at 10:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by xochi
    Drugs , prostitution, child support....all moral issues with criminal penalties. The practice in the US is to legislate morality. I'd support getting out of it alltogether and agree in that case infidelity shouldn't be illegal....
    Child support isn't a moral issue but rather is required because a child can't support themselves. Drugs and prostitution should both be legal to consenting adults. The police already have enough to do catching murderers and rapists without wasting time going after people who aren't harming others but just offending the sensibilities of some people. Sure, regulate and tax drugs and prostitution same as any other business, but otherwise don't meddle in someone's personal choices.

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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by xochi
    Drugs , prostitution, child support....all moral issues with criminal penalties.
    That is not universally true. You can find countries and even US states that don't have criminal penalties for those things.

    As for me, marriage is purely a commitment between the married parties. I don't even like the state being involved in the granting of marriage licenses. What business is it of theirs? But I digress.

    No, it should not be illegal. It's one of those acts that I personally find odious and that causes me to lose respect for the parties involved but it's not something that rises to the level of a crime, IMO.
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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by powernoodle
    I respectfully dissent from your assertion that everyone is capable of infidelity. I cannot fathom the circumstances under which I would be unfaithful.

    +1

  16. #16

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962
    Child support isn't a moral issue but rather is required because a child can't support themselves. Drugs and prostitution should both be legal to consenting adults. The police already have enough to do catching murderers and rapists without wasting time going after people who aren't harming others but just offending the sensibilities of some people. Sure, regulate and tax drugs and prostitution same as any other business, but otherwise don't meddle in someone's personal choices.
    Child support is totally a moral issue. If a sperm contributor has no say in wether a child is brought to term yet is forced to support that child , the law is mandating he do the moral thing. Choosing to act as a father or not act as a father is totally a moral act. The actual birth of the child is decided completely by the owner of the womb. Mandating child support actually undermines solid relationships , natural selection and has made motherhood a means of earning a living. Not to mention the impact on children and society of fatherless kids brought about by the ease and celebration of single motherhood.
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by xochi
    Child support is totally a moral issue. If a sperm contributor has no say in wether a child is brought to term yet is forced to support that child , the law is mandating he do the moral thing. Choosing to act as a father or not act as a father is totally a moral act. The actual birth of the child is decided completely by the owner of the womb. Mandating child support actually undermines solid relationships , natural selection and has made motherhood a means of earning a living. Not to mention the impact on children and society of fatherless kids brought about by the ease and celebration of single motherhood.
    If you look at it that way you're right. I thought you were referring to the fact that parents are supposed to support a child by law, not to fathers giving single mothers child support. Two entirely separate things. Yes, a child needs support from somebody, but if someone has an accident while having sex despite taking precautions to avoid pregnancy, and the women chooses to give birth against his wishes, then there should be no obligation on the part of the father.

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    *Flashaholic* bwaites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    While I hate the thought of MORE government, the argument that moral issues should not be legislated is moot.

    EVERY crime is, at heart, a moral issue. Doing good vs. doing bad, which is morals in a nutshell.

    Our whole legal system is based on moral issues and penalties for them. The initial laws given to Moses, the basis for the whole Judeo-Christian law process, was a moral code.

    While I certainly hope that I would never commit an infidelity, I have seen too many good men placed in the wrong circumstances who did so. I believe that everyone is CAPABLE of infidelity, but that some are wise enough to not allow themselves to be placed in the circumstance that would lead to it.

    As far as making it illegal, Virginia is certainly NOT the only state where it is illegal, but enforcement is virtually impossible. Idaho even has/had a "no fornication" law. (Defined as intercourse between two unmarried people before marriage) At least one nationally prominent case was prosecuted when a teenage girl became pregnant, (there is the evidence necessary!) and both teens were prosecuted. I don't remember how it ended, it has been several years, but I do remember it was a mess!!

    Making it illegal won't stop it, humans have proven themselves incapable of self control under the wrong circumstances. Remember, Christian,Jewish and Muslim faiths long stoned to death or executed those caught in adultery and that didn't stop it, believing that some jail time will is naive.

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    *Flashaholic* bwaites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    jtr,

    I would disagree on many facets.

    The decision on whether to become a mother or father is made with the ACT, not the consequences. There are no "accidents" while having sex, the act itself has only one goal. NO preventative is 100% effective, and no one should believe they are. If someone is so naive as to believe that any is, they are too naive to be having sexual relations.

    Supporting a child is, beyond any doubt, a moral issue, "doing the right thing". If you cause that child to be born, by taking part in any way in the conception, you have a moral obligation to care for it, regardless of whether or not there is a legal penalty for not doing so. In this case, I believe there should be legal ramifications as well as moral ones, since the child has no part in the decision process.

    Bill
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by bwaites
    While I certainly hope that I would never commit an infidelity, I have seen too many good men placed in the wrong circumstances who did so. I believe that everyone is CAPABLE of infidelity, but that some are wise enough to not allow themselves to be placed in the circumstance that would lead to it.
    Wise words.

    Seems like these days, "It just happened...." when the reality is the act was sent in motion long before the consumation.

    Perhaps it might lessen the frequency of it happening and perhaps some legal revenge might prevent more heinous acts from happening. I've never been in the situation but I'd be willing to bet that the feeling of powerlessness to any recourse contributes to at least some very violent overreactions. In these cases of violence people who hear about the violence frequently empathize, to a degree, with the agressor. The end result is that everyone is a victim of passion and the situation is a true tragedy.

    I also believe that , to some extent, many situations involving infidelity also involve a host of other bad , impulse driven decisions and that just like situations of abuse there are those who regret the behaviour and would make legitimate efforts to make better decisions if assistance in making those decisions were available. If those who do care enough to change aren't pushed into a situation where confronting the real consequences of their actions is a necessity then why would they make a different decision in the future? Granted, all a court can do is mandate education or counseling to deal with the issue, but for some that will be enough for a positive change.

    In addition to the aforementioned, elevating infidelity out of the status of Jerry Springer Drama to a serious act with broad consequence to innocents also elevates the seriousness of the decision to marry in the first place. At one point, a great deal of a persons life, livelihood and social stature, were intimately involved with the marital union. The community was enhanced and relied upon marriage just as the wedded did. These days our economic , social and other support structures are far less dependent on and supportive of the union. We've lost the signifigance of marriage and our attitudes towards it seem to have adjusted accordingly. If marriage really is important, shouldn't consequences of violating the vows amount to more than a less lucrative property division upon divorce?
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    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    There appears to be two fairly emphatic camps. One says legislate morality and the other says no.

    I'm in the second camp. Morality is, in most cases, based on religion. It's based on the beliefs of individuals and morals are far from universal. Even within individual communities you will find a person who runs an X rated theater (and it's patrons) along with people who want to burn it down. Morals run the whole gambit.

    My morals don't match yours. Why shouldn't MINE be the ones that are enforced? Why can't I legislate that you have to be kind to others and tollerant of conflicting views. Why can't I make sex PG and violence X rated? They answer is simple. It would infringe on your right to practice your morals.

    In many societies the concept of infidelity is not an issue. The main biological reason for enforcing fidelity is to prevent inbreeding. The societal reason is to reduce the number of women raising kids by themselves without adequate resources. We have the technology to limit births and teh record keeping necessary to minimize incest, so those issues are moot.

    There's a great article in the bbc news about what is suspected to be the fidelity hormone called vasopressin.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3812483.stm . I read about it first in Scientific American.

    This suggests that love and fidelity is hormonal and often triggered by sex. The research also suggests that infidelity can lead to bonding with the new sexual partner. There is a reason for the courting process and a reason why almost no-one stays totally platonic during that phase. It cements the bond.

    I think most people are apalled by the thought of infidelity by their spouse because of the spectre that they will lose their spouse. Instead of making laws, people should make sure that they satisfy their spouse in every way they can.

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    I'm with Powernoodle on adultery.

    Quote Originally Posted by bwaites
    ...EVERY crime is, at heart, a moral issue. Doing good vs. doing bad, which is morals in a nutshell...
    Exactly. IMO the old saw that 'we shouldn't try to legislate morality' comes across as very poorly thought out. Laws based on strong moral issues are the best laws we have. Even in fragmented Western culture you may travel to any country and find very few who think that murder and theft should not be against the law. Even in the United States these are moral issues.

    Good law is an attempt to enforce the morals of a group of citizens upon itself. It doesn't always succeed, by a long shot, but that is precisely what the best laws have always done, IMO. It is when laws are written outside of a moral code that they become really distasteful -- laws that are just designed to redistribute wealth (between classes or individuals), for example.

    Please don't construe this post to mean that I think that there should be all manner of laws infusing some form of morality into every aspect, however trivial, of our lives. I am not. I am merely responding to the oft repeated notion that we shouldn't base laws on morality. This is a notion that has been repeated ad nauseum since at least the 1960s -- and probably before that.

    In general, the only laws throughout history that have not been based on morality have existed in dictatorships where the morals of the citizens are unimportant to the leaders. Aside from the already mentioned Greed, the only other issue is fanaticism, which must be measured and restrained by each culture. And they do, with a remarkable variety of tolerance an fanaticism.

    I suspect that if those who feel that morality has no place in the legal code really thought about it, most would fall into the category who simply feel that some laws are based on a fanatic moral zeal which should be more restrained than it is. It's a boundary thing. It's pretty hard to make the case that laws against murder and robbery are a bad thing -- or that murder and robbery are not clear, universal, moral issues.

    YMMV
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 03-06-2006 at 01:08 PM.

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    Flashaholic* twentysixtwo's Avatar
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    Yellowlaugh Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    There are 2 extremes, one that thinks there are simple black and white truths to all things, and another that thinks all morality is relative.

    Is adultery immoral? Premarital sex? Intoxication? Lying on ones resume? Greed, Gluttony and Sloth? Recall the other seven deadly sins, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Pride and Greed.

    One camp would say that a sin is a sin and should be illegal, the other camp would say that this would be a slippery slope to banning anything that looks like a sin. The first camp would say that to not draw the line at a given point would be the same as drawing no line at all.

    I have no issue with having statutes on the books making adultery a crime, but then the question comes - what do you to do punish someone? How do you prove it? Lets say that someone is separated (not legally divorced) or that their partner lies about whether they are married or not? It could get messy fast.

    I'd be more in line with letting the current system deal with things like adultery, etc and instead focus society's attention on things like drunken driving, overconsumption (Drive a SUV or larege truck? Prove you need it!) and obesity (Tax all big macs) . Then we can ban causes of vanity and envy - criminalize beauty pageants and make-up, perhaps make women wear headscarfs and bhurkas.

    I also think it is a sin to eat the flesh of the cow and that swines are unclean. Alcohol and tobacco defile the temple that is your body and disrespect of women in word or song is unholy.

    Hamburger? 30 days in the cooler. Bacon? 12 lashes. 50-Cent or Eminem? 6 months hard labor.

    (tongue in cheek, if it's not obvious.)

    There are a few notable societies that have criminalized adultery and fornication. It's not clear if this has had an impact, although it has raised significant issues. I don't think I need to tell everyone which societies I'm talking about.
    Last edited by twentysixtwo; 03-06-2006 at 01:33 PM.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Infidelity is it's own punishment. There are much larger evils in this world to be dealt with ahead of this BS.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* magic79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    We already have wayyyy too many laws.

    In fact, I favor introducing a constitutional amendment that requires repeal of two laws for every proposed new one.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by xochi
    I...I now wholeheartedly believe that when marriage vows are broken the offending party should be held responsible as should the individual with whom the infidelity is commited.

    Fidelity should be something that, as a society we support and promote and if the message is sent that choosing a married sexual partner has serious negative consequences, people might think twice.

    Uhmmm.... Xochi, I believe that the pre-Christian Israelites did have such laws. Stoning for both parties. Did it stop adulterers fron adulterating? Nope.

    Fidelity presupposes several things--Maturity, commitment, a moral center and values, plus lack selfishness--all of which are things that don't command a lot of respect in todays sophisticated "global societies". It takes a conviction that all is not relative, and that the "Don't Do Its" are important for a reason.

    I realize that a significant portion of forum members may not subscribe to the Christian value system, but: If the Ten Commandments could somehow be "washed" of their sectarian context, and followed globally, it might be a different world. But man tends to create his own loopholes, and morality is an individual thing.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by bwaites
    jtr,

    I would disagree on many facets.

    The decision on whether to become a mother or father is made with the ACT, not the consequences. There are no "accidents" while having sex, the act itself has only one goal. NO preventative is 100% effective, and no one should believe they are. If someone is so naive as to believe that any is, they are too naive to be having sexual relations.

    Supporting a child is, beyond any doubt, a moral issue, "doing the right thing". If you cause that child to be born, by taking part in any way in the conception, you have a moral obligation to care for it, regardless of whether or not there is a legal penalty for not doing so. In this case, I believe there should be legal ramifications as well as moral ones, since the child has no part in the decision process.

    Bill
    Taken at face value, I would agree yet the problem lies in the very different reproductive positions of men and women. Sex is a predominantly instinct driven act. For a man, the instinct is to sow the seed in as many fields as possible and the drive to do so has developed with very little dependence on discriminating the quality of the soil, after all a man can have thousands of children. The historical celebration of male sexual prowess clearly supports this.

    Of course men do make a qualitative distinction amongst women when they choose to invest in rearing a child. Men are at a disadvantage in that they have had no real guaruntee that the child actually belongs to them so when a longterm reproductive partner is chosen it is very important that confidence in the discriminating nature of the female is developed during a lengthy pre sexual courtship. The common lack of respect for a woman who agrees to sex easily supports this as does attitudes that promote a woman waiting till marriage to have sex.

    For a woman, the instinct has developed with a very tight dependence on discriminating the quality of the seed that is allowed to fertilize the field and not just physically, a womans drive is equally entwined with evaluating a reproductive partner as a means of support during the vulnerability of motherhood. Social attitudes towards women have supported a woman in being sexually discriminating to insure that not only is her mate capable of supporting her but also willing to do so . The historical celebration of female chastity supports this.

    The current situation eliminates the need for a woman to discriminate between a high quality mate and a supportive high quality mate since the social support of discrimation is rapidly collapsing and the legal system has guarunteed that every high quality mate will be supportive. Suddenly it is to a womans reproductive advantage to offer opportunity despite obvious signs that the mate is unwilling to be supportive of any offspring. Previously a woman would be inclined to deny a very high quality mate that showed signs of unwillingness to support her during vulnerability. In effect , women are exploiting support as a given to take advantage of reproductive opportunity that would have been unsupportive and disadvantageous otherwise.

    Not all womens criteria has shifted but those that have are now undermining those that haven't. Frequently, even when a woman holds out for a partner exhibiting both qualities her efforts may already have been undermined by another opportunistic female already siphoning resources from an otherwise high quality and supportive mate. To further complicate things is that reproductive discrimination of males is undermined and a feedback loop of offspring from indiscriminate reproduction blossoms.
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  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* bwaites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Xochi,

    I don't think there is a difference. By participating willingly in the act, both individuals accept the responsibility for any conception. The ACT, not whether or not there is a conception, should be the determining factor.

    If women ARE using men as sperm donors, then that is a separate issue.

    BUT, from the only individual affected who has no say in his situation, the child, that responsibility is accepted with the act.

    In more vulgar context, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime!"

    Bill
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  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Geeze.. As low as I can drop my standards sometimes I could not imagine not standing behind the promises I have made to my wife, she is the backbone of my home.
    Legalities, I couldn't answer that.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Infidelity should be illegal...yes or no?

    Let's go back one step:

    If the marriage institution/system works, there would be no infidelity.

    dcarch8

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