Extramarital Affairs Harden Hearts and Threaten Health
It may seem we live in an age where almost “everything goes”. If it makes you happy, and it isn’t illegal, then it should be your choice as to whether you do something or not. This thinking seems to have made its way quite effectively into marriages. I’m no lawyer, however, taking risks that threaten another’s life and their physical and mental health seems like some sort of crime to me?
In an article titled; “New Hampshire lawmakers look to get rid of 200-year-old adultery crime” (The Associated Press December 14, 2009), a contemporary lawyer argues, We shouldn’t be in the business of regulating what consenting adults do with each other,” Horrigan said. The article goes on to point out history;
“Convicted adulterers years ago faced standing on the gallows, up to 39 lashes, a year in jail or a fine of 100 pounds. The punishment has been relaxed to a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,200 – with no jail time.”
- Remember that extramarital affairs are a chargeable offence under the United States Code of Military Justice.
- As of 2011, adultery was still considered illegal in 23 of the 50 United States.
- A joint statement by the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice states that: “Adultery as a criminal offence violates women’s human rights” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery).
Although the District of Columbia and approximately half of the states continue to have laws on the books criminalizing adultery, these laws are rarely invoked. Traditionally, states advanced three goals in support of their adultery laws: (1) the prevention of disease and illegitimate children; (2) the preservation of the institution of marriage; and (3) the safeguarding of general community morals. (found at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Sexual+infidelity).
Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ‘adultery’ as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband”.
The bible defines adultery more broadly, indicating significant concern should be given to even the act of lustfully looking. In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus states; “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
In his National Post article in support of current Canadian laws criminalizing not telling a sex partner about having HIV, Matt Gurney says, “It is a crime for a reason, and should remain so”. He adds the following rationale;
“The issue is not really about how likely someone is to become infected with HIV, or any other serious sexually transmitted disease or infection. It’s about who gets to make the decision to expose someone else to that chance of infection, whether it be 100% or 1%. How severe the risk is irrelevant — each of us should have the right, and expectation, to know what we are getting ourselves into. None of us should have the right to decide for someone else whether they are exposed to a potentially deadly disease. The only person qualified to make that kind of decision is the person accepting the risk. If they are denied the opportunity, they have not consented. That’s a crime.” Matt Gurney| 08/02/12 | Last Updated: 08/02/12 11:15 AM ET.
I leave you to consider this matter for yourselves, of course, yet it seems strange to me that some of the things we actually charge people for are significantly less damaging and hurtful than the familial destruction and emotional devastation that most often accompanies adulterous behaviour. The long term impact on both adults and children, the loss of productivity in the workplace and the extensive use of mental health and medical services is a drain on society. While we may not want to place judgement on people or look down on them for their choices, it may be about time we reopened responsible discussions about adulterous behaviour, breach of marital trust and placed some judgment on this behaviour. Through these conversations, we may even develop more effective solutions and preventative strategies to incorporate into our legal, social and educational institutions?