New Hampshire Moves Toward Repealing 200-Year-Old Adultery Law

New Hampshire appears to be moving toward repealing its 200-Year-Old adultery law. It is obviously long overdue. I have previously written how these laws are clearly unconstitutional, here and here.

While many politicians are unwilling to deal with the difficult political issue, state Rep. Timothy Horrigan and a few of his colleagues are moving toward removing the unconstitutional provision from the state’s code. That is more courage than has been shown by politicians in other states who would prefer to have people like me to challenge the law and pay heavy fees and costs leading to a court decision to overturn the laws, here.

He is joined by Rep. Carol McGuire, a Republican co-sponsor of the bill in a bipartisan effort. After the Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas (overturning criminal laws on homosexuality) there should be no lingering doubt as to the unconstitutionality of such laws. What is lacking is not the legal basis but the political courage.

New Hampshire has a long libertarian tradition and many in that state see this law for what it is: a government intervention in the private lives of citizens. Morals legislation is nothing new and such laws go back to the founding of the Republic. However, they constitute examples of majoritarian demands being imposed on consenting adults in how they should live their lives. No one is pro-adultery. However, many are pro-privacy and pro-Constitution. New Hampshire could lead the way for states in rescinding these legal relics and, in doing so, reaffirm the right of citizens to live by the moral or amoral values of their own choosing.

For the full story, click here.

4 thoughts on “New Hampshire Moves Toward Repealing 200-Year-Old Adultery Law

  1. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox’s admits to adultery and still serves as Attorney General and Michigan still has a law against Adultery.

    I guess when you are the Attorney General you get to use unfettered discretion in which laws to enforce.

    In November 2005, Cox himself admitted to committing adultery while accusing Oakland County lawyer Geoffrey Fieger of blackmail, claiming that he threatened to reveal the affair if Cox did not drop an investigation into Fieger’s alleged campaign finance violations…..adultery is held to constitute a felony.

  2. Michigan also has a law (MCL 750.335) against lewd cohabitation (i.e., shacking up). Seems also facially unconstitutional to me, but would anyone in the Michigan Legislature be bold enough to actually propose repealing the section? I kinda doubt it.

  3. Does anyone know if the Kansas law banning sodomy is still on the books? I still remember the case detailed in Playboy in the 60’s where a disc jockey was sent to prision when the police broke in to find him performing cunnilingus on his girlfriend. We have a vile history in this country where sex is concerned and yet it is one of professed public morality and actual private hypocrisy.

  4. For such a libertarian state, it is surprising that this law is still on the books. Maybe this will be the start of a trend to remove the “legal relics” as Professor Turley suggests. I am not holding my breath because many of today’s politicians are afraid to do the right thing if the religious right is against it.

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