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Why no penalties for adultery in Western Society?

George_Washington

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There are currently no civil or criminal penalities in America and Western Europe. For the life of me, I don't know why.

Adultery is a very cruel and cowardly act. It's about turning on the one person that you're supposed to be loyal to no matter what. More over, it's the violation of a contract. Marriage is a contract. For breaking any other contract, one would be penalized. So why isn't it the same for marriage?

I think that adultery should be a felony or at least a high level Misdemeanor, punishable by prison time.

To all the liberals who might say I'm being unreasonable...well, I have nothing against people fooling around while they're single (as long as they take responsiblity for their actions and don't have abortions). But I think that when you do get married, you should remain faithful. Or else don't get married.
 

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There is nothing inherent in the "contract" of marriage that requires you to be faithful to your partner, and there is certainly no secular purpose for the enforcement of punishments for adultery. If people want to engage in affairs with other people, the government has no right to interfere with it - let people sort out their personal lives on their own.

Not only that, the practical problems inherent to prosecuting adultry are immense. Adultery is often based on hearsay, making it difficult to prove, which will tie up our courts with tens of thousands of adultery cases - something that equates to millions of dollars in lawyers, court time, and administrative costs that must be shouldered by the taxpayers.

This is a silly idea with no good reasoning behind it and would produce little gain if enacted.
 

George_Washington

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Engimo said:
There is nothing inherent in the "contract" of marriage that requires you to be faithful to your partner, and there is certainly no secular purpose for the enforcement of punishments for adultery.
Well, if one partner agrees to marry the other and says that he/she expects them to be faithful, then it is part of the contract they make. Considering that probably 99% of people agree to this beforehand, I would say that faithfulness is inherent, even if they don't put it in writing. They should put it in writing though. Verbal agreements are hard to prove but it's unlikely that two people would enter into marriage in the first place if they just wanted to cheat on each other. What would be the point?

Marriages in Churches especially have the intent of being faithful. Since marriages in Churches are just as legal as marriages in courthouses and are considered legally the same, why should we say one form of marriage deserves different requirements than the other?

An entirely, "secular" society as you speak of would me impossible to have in reality and yet still maintain a healthy economy and a civilized population. At least some laws based on a common sense of morality must be established in order to have what is considered to be a, "country." You can argue it but I don't think it's possible to even have laws in the first place without a sense of morality and ethics. Why was slavery abolished in the first place? A secularist could argue that slavery should be legal because otherwise it would be legislating morality.
 

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George_Washington said:
Well, if one partner agrees to marry the other and says that he/she expects them to be faithful, then it is part of the contract they make. Considering that probably 99% of people agree to this beforehand, I would say that faithfulness is inherent, even if they don't put it in writing. They should put it in writing though. Verbal agreements are hard to prove but it's unlikely that two people would enter into marriage in the first place if they just wanted to cheat on each other. What would be the point?
What about people that want to have "open" relationships? Or those that don't really care all that much about adultery? There is nothing about a marriage that necessarily REQUIRES faithfulness - only in people's personal morality do we find this requirement. Let them sort it out.

An entirely, "secular" society as you speak of would me impossible to have in reality and yet still maintain a healthy economy and a civilized population. At least some laws based on a common sense of morality must be established in order to have what is considered to be a, "country." You can argue it but I don't think it's possible to even have laws in the first place without a sense of morality and ethics. Why was slavery abolished in the first place? A secularist could argue that slavery should be legal because otherwise it would be legislating morality.
No, slavery was legal because of conflicting interests in the Southern economy. Slavery is clearly unconstitutional as it is violating the rights given to those who are supposed to be considered its citizens - there's no morality involved in it. If you read the Lemon Test, you'll see that the Supreme Court has decided that the United States is only supposed to legislate for secular purposes. Laws do not need to be based on ethics or morality, they can be based on an axiomatic system of rights and a social contract that is inherent to the Constitution.
 

George_Washington

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Engimo said:
What about people that want to have "open" relationships?
lol, the percentage of people who do is probably less than 1%.



No, slavery was legal because of conflicting interests in the Southern economy. Slavery is clearly unconstitutional as it is violating the rights given to those who are supposed to be considered its citizens - there's no morality involved in it. If you read the Lemon Test, you'll see that the Supreme Court has decided that the United States is only supposed to legislate for secular purposes. Laws do not need to be based on ethics or morality, they can be based on an axiomatic system of rights and a social contract that is inherent to the Constitution.
The Lemon Test only applies to legislating religion. But morality is a different matter. Actually, all of our laws are based on morality and ethics. Civilization itself is based on these things apart from religion. I remember there was an ancient Greek Philosopher who had said that while everything in this world may pass away, ideas last forever. Ideas such as the ones we're discussing contain their basis on morality apart from religion. The idea that someone's rights being violated is wrong, is an idea based on ethics. If someone had no sense of ethics or morality, one wouldn't care if someone's rights were violated, what would be the point?
 

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George_Washington said:
There are currently no civil or criminal penalities in America and Western Europe. For the life of me, I don't know why.

Adultery is a very cruel and cowardly act. It's about turning on the one person that you're supposed to be loyal to no matter what. More over, it's the violation of a contract. Marriage is a contract. For breaking any other contract, one would be penalized. So why isn't it the same for marriage?

I think that adultery should be a felony or at least a high level Misdemeanor, punishable by prison time.

To all the liberals who might say I'm being unreasonable...well, I have nothing against people fooling around while they're single (as long as they take responsiblity for their actions and don't have abortions). But I think that when you do get married, you should remain faithful. Or else don't get married.
Your "contract" argument is a misunderstanding of criminal law and civil law. Yes, people are penalized for breaking contracts. But under most circumstances they aren't normally arrested, tried in criminal court, and imprisoned for doing so. The main recourse to someone violating a contract is to sue them in civil court. But adultery is already often considered in civil divorce cases, especially when considering alimony and the division of assets.

The main reason that adultery shouldn't be illegal in the criminal sense is because the government shouldn't be involved in family matters. Does it hurt your spouse? Of course. But so do lots of other things that aren't crimes. The same could be said about filing for divorce. So if you're stuck in an unhappy marriage and are determined to screw the babysitter, is it better to get divorced before or after you do it? I don't see any moral or legal distinction.
 

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The Lemon Test only applies to legislating religion. But morality is a different matter.
No, it's not. Read it again.
First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion."
Making it very clear that all of our laws must have some sort of legitimate, secular intent in their enactment.

Actually, all of our laws are based on morality and ethics. Civilization itself is based on these things apart from religion. I remember there was an ancient Greek Philosopher who had said that while everything in this world may pass away, ideas last forever. Ideas such as the ones we're discussing contain their basis on morality apart from religion. The idea that someone's rights being violated is wrong, is an idea based on ethics. If someone had no sense of ethics or morality, one wouldn't care if someone's rights were violated, what would be the point?
You're wrong. The way the government is set up is not based on morality, it's based on a social contract. Murder isn't punished by the government because it is morally wrong, murder is punished because the collective "we" of the United States have agreed that, as citizens, people have certain rights that are violated when they are murdered. The contract that we "sign" by becoming citizens is that we agree to abide by these sort of things.

Lying is considered to be, by most, an immoral practice - but unless it deprives others of their rights (to property, in the case of business transactions), the government cannot punish it. That's because the job of the government is not to enforce what is right and wrong, but rather to protect the rights that its citizens are entitled to.
 

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It's called divorce and gettin your shirt taken.
 

George_Washington

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Engimo said:
No, it's not. Read it again.
I know what it is. Look, it's a subjective test anyway and doesn't
really have much bearing on this argument. As it says on that page, scholars have argued against it.



You're wrong. The way the government is set up is not based on morality, it's based on a social contract. Murder isn't punished by the government because it is morally wrong, murder is punished because the collective "we" of the United States have agreed that, as citizens, people have certain rights that are violated when they are murdered. The contract that we "sign" by becoming citizens is that we agree to abide by these sort of things.
Ok so if laws are only based on what is agreed upon by the masses, then that would mean that the minority would and should not have any say in the matter.

Lying is considered to be, by most, an immoral practice - but unless it deprives others of their rights (to property, in the case of business transactions), the government cannot punish it. That's because the job of the government is not to enforce what is right and wrong, but rather to protect the rights that its citizens are entitled to.
True, lying is not illegal. I'm not saying that everything that is immoral should also be illegal. But think about it. Why do we care about this thing called, "rights?" Moreover, why were governments formed in the first place? Why are people given any rights at all? Why aren't we ruled by a dictator that takes whatever he wants? It's because of morality. In the animal kingdom, they know no concept of morality. Property values don't matter, they move in and take whatever they want. So it is only through our knowledge of right and wrong that we value property rights.
 

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Kandahar said:
But adultery is already often considered in civil divorce cases, especially when considering alimony and the division of assets.
It's considered to a varying degree. Some judges weigh it more than others do. But still, it isn't really given all that much consideration, at least that I'm aware of. I've heard and read about cases where judges didn't really take it into consideration much.
 
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Why are there no penalties? Because long ago people realised that the rich and famous were always shagging each other and commiting adultery, yet they very rarely got pinched by the draconian laws.

Secondly who is going to pay, to put all of these adulterers through the court systems.

Remember what is immoral is not always illegal.
 

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George_Washington said:
There are currently no civil or criminal penalities in America and Western Europe. For the life of me, I don't know why.

Adultery is a very cruel and cowardly act. It's about turning on the one person that you're supposed to be loyal to no matter what. More over, it's the violation of a contract. Marriage is a contract. For breaking any other contract, one would be penalized. So why isn't it the same for marriage?

I think that adultery should be a felony or at least a high level Misdemeanor, punishable by prison time.

To all the liberals who might say I'm being unreasonable...well, I have nothing against people fooling around while they're single (as long as they take responsiblity for their actions and don't have abortions). But I think that when you do get married, you should remain faithful. Or else don't get married.
In terms of making society more moral, the government is definitely not the answer. If you want number of adulterers to double, then getting the government involved is almost a sure bet.

One of the core founding principles of our nation is that your right to live your life the way you choose to live your life extends so far as to not impede another individuals ability to do the same. Therefore, if you do not like social libertarianism, then you are in the wrong country. There are civil remedies to adulterous actions. However, there are not and should not be criminal remedies to those actions. There is no greater danger to freedom than a big brother government legislating morality.
 

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I just don't subscribe to the libertarian viewpoint to that extreme. I am fairly libertarian on economic issues but I just don't believe that the government should totally stay out of social matters.
 

Stace

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You know, I agree that adultery is wrong.....I feel that if you have such strong feelings for someone other than your partner, even if they're only physical, you either need to talk to your spouse about it, because perhaps there's some underlying problem in your marriage that can be fixed before you do something stupid; or, if that's just not an option for some reason, at least get a separation before you go hopping into bed with someone else.

That being said, as someone else pointed out, since adultery is largely hearsay (though some people are able to collect at least small amounts of probably evidence), it just wouldn't be worth the court's time to tie up the dockets with issues such as this. Adultery is a very personal and private thing.....you certainly don't want your neighbors knowing, so why would you want to air your dirty laundry in front of a court, when most court records become public matter anyway? Adultery is hurting no one other than the parties directly involved and cannot really be considered a crime against society in the ways that murder and theft can.
 
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George_Washington said:
I just don't subscribe to the libertarian viewpoint to that extreme. I am fairly libertarian on economic issues but I just don't believe that the government should totally stay out of social matters.

So you believe that people should have their own responsibility in economic matters, but at the same time don't believe that people can make their own social decisions?

The accountants that cooked the books at Enron, or the idiots that run GM and Ford, are probably going to economically hurt more people, than adultery does between individuals.

If you think people are mature enough to make their own economic decisions, then people should be able to make their own social choices.

If people stuff up in life, that is becasue we are human. That is what happens when you give people freedom, and choice. :twocents:
 

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Stace said:
Adultery is hurting no one other than the parties directly involved
Although I agree with your comments overall, I think you really need to think this part over....
 

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Why no penalties? Because married men make the laws.
 

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George_Washington said:
There are currently no civil or criminal penalities in America and Western Europe. For the life of me, I don't know why.

Adultery is a very cruel and cowardly act. It's about turning on the one person that you're supposed to be loyal to no matter what. More over, it's the violation of a contract. Marriage is a contract. For breaking any other contract, one would be penalized. So why isn't it the same for marriage?

I think that adultery should be a felony or at least a high level Misdemeanor, punishable by prison time.

To all the liberals who might say I'm being unreasonable...well, I have nothing against people fooling around while they're single (as long as they take responsiblity for their actions and don't have abortions). But I think that when you do get married, you should remain faithful. Or else don't get married.

Well George....you may want to wait until you experience marriage before you attempt to legislate it. You might find that sex is really a very small part of what marriage is, you may also find that many couples communicate daily about life together, and are capable of making descisions for themselves. In youth most people have an understanding of the Love/Sex relationship that is VERY different from the understanding they have when older. So....you might make something illegal right now.......and find yourself regretting it later, as your sexual experience gives you a more...uh....liberal understanding of what sex can actually be.
This is not to say you arent entitled to whatever belief you want....but the day you try to tell me how to run my sexlife....is the day I begin to get upset.
 

ngdawg

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cnredd said:
Although I agree with your comments overall, I think you really need to think this part over....
How is adultery hurting anyone else? If I screw around, how does that affect you? If I had 'permission' from the spouse, is it then adultery? Would it still affect you?
I first read the thread header and thought 'they gotta be joking'.
(As for lying not being a crime, according to the SEC, it is-just ask Martha):roll:
 

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George_Washington said:
I just don't subscribe to the libertarian viewpoint to that extreme. I am fairly libertarian on economic issues but I just don't believe that the government should totally stay out of social matters.
So you are a very conservative, Big Brother Republican then.
 

Stace

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cnredd said:
Although I agree with your comments overall, I think you really need to think this part over....
Am I missing something? By saying parties directly involved, I am including the spouse(s) that was(were) cheated on, children, etc. I wasn't trying to imply that it affects only the cheaters. Sorry if that's the way you took that.....
 

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ngdawg said:
How is adultery hurting anyone else? If I screw around, how does that affect you? If I had 'permission' from the spouse, is it then adultery? Would it still affect you?
I first read the thread header and thought 'they gotta be joking'.
(As for lying not being a crime, according to the SEC, it is-just ask Martha):roll:
I think if you had "permission" from your spouse, it would then be considered an open marriage :mrgreen: While technically it's still cheating, if you have "permission", so to speak, and as long as your spouse also has "permission" to do so, well, then obviously you're both ok with sleeping with other people and it wouldn't carry the stigma in your marriage as it would in a marriage where it was actual sneaking around kind of cheating.
 

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Stace said:
I think if you had "permission" from your spouse, it would then be considered an open marriage :mrgreen: While technically it's still cheating, if you have "permission", so to speak, and as long as your spouse also has "permission" to do so, well, then obviously you're both ok with sleeping with other people and it wouldn't carry the stigma in your marriage as it would in a marriage where it was actual sneaking around kind of cheating.
Yea, but technically it's still adultery, which is why I think even the idea of making it a crime is ridiculous. In Islamic countries, it's a crime and so is homosexuality, sodomy and several other 'outside the norm' sexual practices. I really don't think anyone wants those laws here.
sooooooooo..........anyone busy Saturday night? I got off work....:devil:
 

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tecoyah said:
This is not to say you arent entitled to whatever belief you want....but the day you try to tell me how to run my sexlife....is the day I begin to get upset.
Dude. Why is it about trying to run people's sex lives? Marriage is a legal contract. If you want to have sex, fine. But why enter into a contract knowing full well that you're going to break it? The idea sounds ludicrious to me. And plus, think about how adultery can harm other people such as the child. It's just a shame that there's so much divorce and cheating going on in this country. How much longer are we going to tolerate it? How much longer are we as a civilized people tolerate childen's lives being disrupted by irresponsible people?
 
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