Culture,  Politics

Does a right to privacy equal a right to incest?

When the Supreme Court handed down its infamous Lawrence v. Texas decision (which banned anti-Sodomy laws) in 2003, opponents of the decision argued that this precedent would lead to attempts to legalize all manner of aberrant sexual practices. It looks like these critics turned out to be right. Time magazine reports:

In the landmark gay rights case of Lawrence v. Texas, critics warned that its sweeping support of a powerful doctrine of privacy could lead to challenges of state laws that forbade such things as gay marriage and bigamy. “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are … called into question by today’s decision,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, in a withering dissent he read aloud page by page from the bench.

It turns out the critics were right. Plaintiffs have made the decision the centerpiece of attempts to defeat state bans on the sale of sex toys in Alabama, polygamy in Utah and adoptions by gay couples in Florida. So far the challenges have been unsuccessful. But plaintiffs are still trying. Even using Lawrence to challenge laws against incest.

Pandora’s box is open. Given the strong currents of modern culture, it will be very difficult to close it again.


  • Paul

    Infamous Lawrence v. Texas decision? Please. Keeping laws like that intact make it hard for the Arabs to hate us for our freedom.

    Well, at least we know that the words “Republican” and “limited government” ARE indeed mutually exclusive.

  • F. Roberts

    So let me see if I’ve got this straight – banning anti-sodomy laws is bad?

    Do you feel confident enough in our government to permit them to legislate the actions of consenting adults in their own homes?

    And Paul, it is not ‘Republican’ and ‘limited government’ that are mutally exclusive – there are a lot of libertarian Republicans out there. It is the terms ‘social conservative’ and ‘limited government’ that are mutually exclusive.

  • Donald S.

    Are you kidding me? This question should not even be raised by a civilized society. There is a reason why incest is taboo; it’s wrong and goes against nature and common sense. What is going on in this country lately? This is disgusting.

  • Paul

    I don’t doubt the fact that incest should be illegal. But as a matter of law, the only matter addressed for adults is marriage, which is hardly a privacy issue, since marriage is an issue of public record.

    But, really, if you look at Scalia’s entire statement, it’s pretty much all idiotic:

    “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are … called into question by today’s decision…”

    Well, there are no laws against masturbation, adultery or fornication as far as I know.

    As I’ve said before, without adultery laws and a wiping out of no-fault divorces, any talk of banning same sex marriage is hypocritical at the governmental level.

    Any set of laws that forbids prostitution, but not gold-digging women willing to “go the extra mile” for plastic surgery or a Jaguar is both pointless and hypocritical.

    That leaves bestiality and adult incest. Bestiality is a given. Adult incest is a libertarian’s nightmare.

    And as for the woman who was put out of business for selling sex toys, the entirety of the state of Alabama should be ashamed of that one. Take your pick conservatives, we’re either a free and fair and open democracy, or we’re aiming for a fascist state. But it’s about time that Brownback, Huckabee, and the rest of the “social conservative” crew make up their minds.

    But we agree, incest is icky, and I’m glad that it’s kind of illegal.

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