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But over the years, states have been gradually repealing laws criminalizing adultery, arguing they are rarely enforced and a relic of more puritanical times. One state legislator wants Minnesota to do the same. The way the Minnesota law is written, adultery is a crime usually for a woman and only sometimes for a man. At least 18 other states also still make sexual acts a crime if at least one of the partners is married to someone else. Even though the laws are not enforced, adultery statutes stayed on the books in many states over the years because some lawmakers felt they encouraged good behavior.
Minnesota house of representatives
Former state Rep. She has been nominated as an elector for the presidential election. Should Minnesota statutes that refer to sexual activity between consenting adults be revisited?
When one of the alleged participants in the ongoing saga of indiscretions in the state Senate was quoted as saying that "she had broken no laws," it made me wonder if the adultery statute had been repealed. But no, the law still stands, along with several other little-known provisions most notable for their lack of enforcement.
Minnesota Statute In the matter of enforcement, however, the law limits prosecution to complaints brought by the offenders' spouses — an approach that might be characterized as, "If they don't care, why should we? An interesting gender anomaly exists between the adultery and fornication statutes.
Section Interestingly, the marital status of the male miscreant doesn't matter, only that of the female. Evidently complaints can be brought by anyone.
The fornication statute resides in the Sex Crimes section of the chapter, along with prostitution, bestiality and other offenses. One might wonder why these laws remain on the books, since they haven't been enforced in anyone's memory. Even in the face of court decisions declaring similar laws unconstitutional, they are still the law in Minnesota.
Inthe Minnesota District Court ruled the sodomy statute "unconstitutional as applied to private, consensual, non-coerced acts of sodomy by consenting adults because it violates the rights of privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota constitution. The law applies regardless of the marital status or gender of the participants.
If charges were ever brought under this statute, it's pretty obvious that case law would trump statutory law, but the existence of the statute leaves open the possibility of harassment and malicious prosecution in the state of Minnesota.
But in the current political climate at the Legislature, the problems with the current statutes might actually be compounded.
A couple of years ago, then-Sen. Ellen Anderson suggested the possibility of repeal, but was met with the Minnesota Family Council's response that these laws should actually be strengthened. The senate staffer recently dismissed following the alleged affair is charging gender discrimination.
He states that numerous female staff members kept their jobs despite having affairs with male legislators. It appears to this observer that legislators need to clean up their acts, clean up the statutes, or, preferably, do both.
Office of the revisor of statutes
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Dee Long: One might wonder why these laws remain on the books, since they haven't been enforced in anyone's memory. Fullscreen Slide Slide 1 of 1.
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