Colorado House Blocks Effort To Repeal Adultery and Criminal Immorality Provisions

I have previously written about the roughly two dozen states with criminal adultery or immorality provisions still on the books. Colorado joined the states refusing rescind such laws despite their presumptive unconstitutionality after Lawrence v. Texas. A Colorado committee refused to rescind two such laws by a one vote margin — a vote supplied by Democratic Rep. John Kefalas (D-Fort Collins) who joined the Republicans (except for one Republican member) in defeating the measure.

Senate Bill 244 would have repealed an adultery provision law as well as a criminal ban on “promoting sexual immorality” by renting a room to unmarried people who have sex. Anyone found guilty of “promoting sexual immorality” can receive up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

For a state with such a diverse population and millions of tourists like Colorado, the vote was an embarrassment. It was a victory, however, only secured by a 6-7 vote in the House Health and Environment Committee with Rep. Kefalas voting against the reform of the state code. Kefalas insisted “I just know I don’t support adultery.” Of course, that is not the point. The point is that Kefalas cannot foist his own moral values on his neighbors through the use of the criminal code. Kefalas is under an oath of office to uphold the state and federal constitutions. Because he does not personally believe in adultery (like most people), he has voted to retain an unconstitutional measure on the state books.

Colorado has a strong libertarian tradition but this is a victory of movement conservatives who want the state to advance their own set of moral and religious views.

Source: Denver Post

Jonathan Turley

33 thoughts on “Colorado House Blocks Effort To Repeal Adultery and Criminal Immorality Provisions

  1. Gyges:

    I know I may not covet my neighbor’s wife nor manservant, ox nor his ass, but, query, may I covet my neighbor’s wife’s ass?

  2. rafflaw,

    P.S. I have never coveted my neighbor’s ass either! Now…if Hugh Jackman lived next door–that might be another story.


  3. The first page of a Google search showed 9 film festivals in Colorado. How successful would those be, if the participants knew they could be arrested for sharing a room with a non-spouse?

  4. The young guy who ran afoul of the local DA in Wisconsin did not have to register as a sex offender. He did fight the charge, but despondent over having lost his job as a park supervisor and unable to get another job in the field because employers kept checking with his former employer, the School Board in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he ended up committing suicide in 1971. For the full story, see my book, Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation after the Sexual Revolution (Chicago, 2012).

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