Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Lawrence and Incest: I Was Right

Posted by Adam Graham on April 14, 2007

In October, 2004, I wrote:

Second, what’s being said is that society has no right to arbitrarily say that some circumstance that is beyond a person’s control should stop them from marrying the person they want to be with because of a moral argument against them. Thus liberal logic goes, Jim loves Harry, they can’t help it they were both born men and should therefore they should be allowed to marry.

Lets carry this argument to its logical conclusion and ask a simple question. What makes an incestuous marriage wrong?

Lets compare the arguments against incestuous marriage to those against homosexual marriage. First, like the homosexual if a woman and her brother fall in love, they’re artificially stopped from getting married by a circumstance which they can’t control and this is due only to society’s moral beliefs.

A major argument against incest is genetics. If you allow two closely related people to marry, their offspring may be prone to some serious defects because he or she would have genetic defects and poor general health. However, this argument fails under the regime of gay marriage because many genetically flawed people who will have children that will develop deadly diseases are allowed to marry. In addition, with gay marriage, we say that reproductive potential between the marriage partners is irrelevant, so who are we to say that the potential of reproductive defects should stop people from getting married?

Second, the moral basis of rejecting incest can be questioned as being too religious. Leviticus 18:22 (Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.) is a key scripture against homosexuality that is attacked by many defenders of the lifestyle. Indeed, people have been imprisoned in other countries for quoting this politically incorrect scripture. However, Leviticus 18 also contains key prohibitions against incest. Verses 6 and 7 say, “None of you shall approach any who is near of kin to him to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. The nakedness of thy father or the nakedness of thy mother shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.” Gay marriage advocates have argued laws against gay marriage are based on old religious taboos, but if they are, so are the laws against incest.

In Time Magazine articled called, “Should Incest Be Legal?”

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.

In Ohio, lawyers for a Cincinnati man convicted of incest for sleeping with his 22-year-old stepdaughter tell TIME that they will make the Lawrence decision the centerpiece of an appeal to the Supreme Court. “Our view of Lawrence is a fairly narrow one, that there is a Constitutional right under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause that says private consensual activity between adults cannot be criminal,” said J. Dean Carro, the lead lawyer for Paul D. Lowe, the former sheriff’s deputy sentenced in 2004 to 120 days in jail after pleading no contest to incest.

Now, I think Carro understands Lawrence understands the law pretty well. These cases haven’t gone too far. Why? You might ask. It’s called slow boiling the frog. Were the Supreme Court to rule incest a Constitutional right, there’d be outrage, but if you wait long enough and slowly define deviancy down, you can get acceptance for anything.

Alternately, I suppose some judges may be applying a double standard. Who wants/likes/supports incest? Just folks who practice it themselves really. It’s gross in the judge’s mind, so even though by legal logic Lawrence would apply, they can make up some stuff to keep it out.

Let’s not forget the political pressure. While in an ideal world, political pressure shouldn’t need to be employed to make judges act like judges and crusading legislators, given outrage over judicial activism, I doubt anyone’s hankering to be “the incest judge.”

(Hat Tip: Right from Left.)

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