Saving Marriage: Life Sentences for Adulterers, Forced Annulments for Childlessness

There have been two exciting developments recently in the campaign to protect marriage. In Ohio and Michigan wingnuts are pushing adultery laws with life-sentence penalties. In Washington state, liberals have proposed a law that prohibits infertile couples from marrying and annuls marriages that have not produced children after three years.

Count me in. I’m strongly in favor of both these efforts, and believe they warrant serious debate.

Criminalizing Adultery

Rightwing anti-marriage activists say that allowing same-sex couples to wed would destroy the institution of marriage.

But any rational observer would say that it isn’t homos who are wrecking marriage, it’s adulterers who cause most marriages to fail. And since about half of marriages end in divorce, we can surmise that there is a whole lot of adultery going on.

If conservatives feel as strongly as they say they do, why not make adultery punishable by death?

I have long been an advocate of taking the anti-marriage right at its word and criminalizing adultery — after all, it’s in the Bible. One of the Big Ten: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.

Conversely, nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it say Thou shalt not be gay. In fact, there is nothing of any consequence about gay sex in either Testament.

I was surprised to learn last week that several states already (or, rather, still) have laws on the books against adultery. In Michigan, the penalty for sexual misconduct is a life sentence.

Now we’re talking!

Now a ultra-righwing preacher from Ohio wants his state to enforce a similar law. Here’s how Pam Spaulding covered it:

Ohio Talibangelist Rod Parsley … is beating the drum to have dust-laden state adultery laws enforced.

Parsley, head of the pious Center for Moral Clarity, practically had a boner over a recent case in Michigan, where its second-highest court ruled that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct — a felony that could land you in prison for life.

If conservatives feel as strongly as they say they do that saving the institution of marriage is the most important issue facing our country, then they should support making adultery illegal. In fact, given the stakes, why not make it punishable by death?

Enforced Procreation

All couples applying for marriage licenses would be required to provide medical testing that proves they are able to conceive and bear children.

Rightwing anti-marriage activists say that same-sex marriage is wrong because they do not produce children through the traditional means. (Conservatives apparently feel that adopted children and children conceived using medical technology such as in vitro fertilization are not as good as children conceived via procreation by a husband and wife.)

In Washington state, pro-marriage activists from the left are taking the rightwingers at their word. They have introduced an initiative that would require dual-gender couples to procreate within three years or have their marriage automatically annulled by the government.

Initiative 957 would also limit marriage to men and women who can have children. All couples applying for marriage licenses would be required to provide medical testing that proves they are able to conceive and bear children.

Marriages between men and women who cannot have children would be categorized as “unrecognized,” and those couples would be ineligible to receive the benefits of marriage.

The initiative is a response to a decision by the Washington state Supreme Court last year that upheld the state’s anti-marriage legislation that prohibits marriage of same-sex couples.

In the ruling one justice wrote, “limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the state’s interests in procreation and encouraging families with a mother and father and children biologically related to both.”

12 Comments

  • February 7, 2007 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    When my friends Cathy and Warren got married a few years ago, they had a traditional Episcopal service. When the priest got to the part about raising children together, he had to wait for several minutes while he, the guests, and the bride and groom all cracked up. At the time, Cathy was 57 and Warren was 69.

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  • wgant
    February 7, 2007 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    #1: I believe gay marriage messes up the institution of marriage because it changes it’s definition.

    #2: I believe in laws against adultry, but punishments shouldn’t be severe.

    #3: Marriage and procration have nothing to do with one another, but experts agree that children are best raised by a mother and father, and if you can help promote that through a law you are going to pass anyway, why not?
    .

  • fubar
    February 7, 2007 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Jesus, please save me from your followers!

  • Craig R. Lane
    February 7, 2007 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Too many people have lied in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call. Too many people have died in the name of Christ and I can’t believe it all. That is from CSNY. The bible says something about not worrying about the mote in someone else’s eye when there is a log in your own eye. Jesus weeps. These American taliban bottom feeders will bring about their own demise soon enough. Pay no attention to non-issues like this. There are millions of AMERICANS out there who hate our protected freedoms, you have should have no worries about Al-Queda. Our true enemies are already here, calling themselves Americans, blaming everything on everyone else. We will all burn the same way. To the “person” above who thinks that infidelity SHOULD be a punishable crime, I hope it becomes just that. I think that refusing to put out should follow in those same guidelines. I mean the bible does say that all women are second class to men and should therefore shut the hell up, (and stay off of the internet), get barefoot, and stay pregnant. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU IGNORANT F***S WISH FOR!!!!!

  • Kewalo
    February 7, 2007 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I laughed like hell when I saw the marriage initiative on the news yesterday.

    I hope I see someone with a petition because I will be delighted to sign it. They need 200,000 signatures. Wouldn’t it be a gas if they got them?

  • mlb
    February 7, 2007 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I think marriage should be banned altogether. The 50% failure rate is proof that marriage just doesn’t work! Banning marriage would simplify the law and tax code, would save billions on divorce lawyers, and would moot the arguments over whether gays should be allowed to marry and whether people should be punished for adultery.

    Banning marriage would make for small government, so I’m certain all Republicans and Libertarians will support the idea.

    People could still have weddings, if they go in for that sort of thing. They just wouldn’t actually be married after the ceremony.

  • Upirons
    February 10, 2007 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I live in Ohio. Rod Parsley is not far from where I live. I am in no way associated with him or that wacked out “religion” he preaches. As a matter of fact, I worked with someone who told me that his wife was a secretary for Mr Parsley. This co-worker also told me that he was having marital problems because his wife had an affair with her boss… yes, that’s right, none other than Mr Rod Parsley himself. Hmmm, maybe we should give him what he wants, just long enough to throw him in jail where he belongs.

  • Good with the so called Bad
    February 14, 2007 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of a bad time in past history. Remember the Nazi’s! This is what the world is coming too! Remember Freedom is a double edge sword you must take the good with the “so called bad (in your nutcase world!)” Religion has its good side and bad side. Remember your history, the “Spanish Inquisition”, “The Crusades”. Remember you are no better then the radical Muslims when you start thinking this way! Remember GOD gave man FREE WILL. Only GOD can judge! We are here to help each other not go the easy way out and put half the population in jail. Ever notice when your in church everyone is so nice, then you get out the parking lot and everyone is trying to run you down? Get a life spread the word, not the sword!

  • Good with the so called Bad
    February 14, 2007 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    One last Thought. If this was the law in Marry and Joe’s Time then Jesus might never have been! Since Marry would have never been! Remember Read the Bible, and understand it don’t be blinded by your hate!

  • SFM
    February 15, 2007 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Craig writes, “I mean the bible does say that all women are second class to men and should therefore shut the hell up, (and stay off of the internet), get barefoot, and stay pregnant. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU IGNORANT F***S WISH FOR!!!!! ”

    WOW! AND I AM NOT YELLING, I SIMPLY WANT MY TEXT TO STAND OUT FROM THE QUOTE ABOVE SO AM WRITING IN ALL CAPS …

    NO, ACTUALLY THE BIBLE DOESN’T SAY THAT … SOME HAVE TAKEN PARTS OUT OF CONTEXT AND INTERPRETED (AS OPPOSED TO TRANSLATED) THEM THAT WAY — BUT I DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT BARE FEET EXCEPT WHEN CHRIST HUMBLED HIMSELF TO WASH HIS DISCIPLES FEET OR WHERE THE WOMAN BATHED CHIRSTS FEET WITH EXPENSIVE OIL AND WIPED THEM WITH HER HAIR… THE MEANING OF ALL THIS LOST IN OUR CULTURE… AND WE INFER THAT MEANS THEY TOOK OFF THEIR SANDLES FIRST…IF THEY HAD THEM AT ALL AND THE BAREFOOTED IN THESE ACCOUNTS WERE MEN… PRETTY SURE THEY WEREN’T PREGNANT… :-) I KNOW OF NO REFERENCE ABOUT STAYING PREGNANT PRO-CREATING YES BUT NO SET NUMBER OF TIMES OR TIME SPAN… IN FACT MANY OF THE ACCOUNTS ARE ABOUT WOMEN WHO WERE BARREN OR HAD BUT ONE OR ONLY A FEW CHILDREN. HANNAH HAD SAMUEL, ELIZABETH, JOHN THE BAPTIST — (AND BOTH AFTER MORE THEN 3 YEARS OF MARRIAGE). LYDIA WAS A SELLER OF PURPLE (RAGS TRADE BIG TIME… NO CHILDREN MENTIONED BUT A HOUSEHOLD SO WE INFER CHILDREN) PRICILLA AND HER HUSBAND AQUILLA HAD A TENTMAKING BUSINESS TOGETHER AND SHE WAS NOT SILENT. PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES WITH CHURCH HISTORY/ TRADITIONS OR MANS INTERPRETATIONS OR YOU WILL MISS THE GOOD STUFF… I HOPE YOU WON’T MISTAKE ACCOUNTS OF HOW IT WAS FOR HOW IT SHOULD BE EITHER… SOME OF IT IS SIMPLE A RECORD OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING… GOOD OR BAD…HOW GOD WORKED IN MAN’S GOOD AND BAD LIVES… SOME IS TEACHING FOR HOW IT SHOULD BE…

    I ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ IT IN CONTEXT (THAT IS, DONT JUST PULL A VERSE HERE AND THERE, READ IT FOR YOURSELF AND REMEMBER IT IS NOT ONE BOOK IT IS A COLLECTION OF 66 BOOKS WRITTEN BY DIFFERENT (I BELEIVE GOD INSPIRED) AUTHORS OVER HUNDREDS OF YEARS…

  • Passionate Pete
    March 7, 2007 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

    So, What does Jesus being a bastard child and a political leader have to do with adultery laws. Sure would the style of those of us who believe in open marriage or polyamory. I believe our constitution allows us the freedom of choice in this matter. Our religious bias however tends to get in the way of clear thinking on the subject of freedom. My own GOD, how many of you bigoted religious zealots believe you have to force your own beliefs on the entire world. I mean, get real, and get a life. Holy rollers coming to my door pushing their religious beliefs on me when I am perfectly satisfied with my own spirituality. Those are the same ideals that are trying to make what the dictionary and several state laws already define as adultery, a severely punishable offense. I suppose if that were to occur this country would fall apart because most of our elected officials would be in prison and if religious zealots were to completely take control we all would be killing each other off competing for who has the most righteous belief system and the New Crusades could be our armageddon. C’mon people wake the hell up! Let this crap go and have a less stressful life. Oh, I almost forgot. Big Brother will be in your underwear to see who’s cheating so if you don’t want to be watched and heard having sex, in or out of your marriage, destroy your underwear and turn up the stereo.

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