Utah Legalizes Sex Outside Of Marriage & The Vote Was Nowhere Near Unanimous
On Wednesday, a bill was signed into law that might surprise you. Per The Hill, the governor of Utah legalized sex outside of marriage, finally decriminalizing it. And perhaps the only thing more flooring than a bill legalizing sex outside of marriage might be the fact that not every lawmaker actually voted in favor of it.
The original 1973 law banning non-marital sex was a part of the Utah Criminal Code, in the chapter containing "offenses against the family." The law read,
(1) Any unmarried person who shall voluntarily engage in sexual intercourse with another is guilty of fornication. (2) Fornication is a class B misdemeanor.
Per The Hill, violating this law could have led to up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000, though the publication acknowledges that police departments in the state did not pursue violators of this law. Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill on Wednesday, after the House voted 41-32. On March 25, earlier this week, Herbert signed another bill which decriminalized adultery and anal sex between consenting adults.
One man in opposition to the new legislation, titled Senate Bill 43, was state Republican Rep. Kevin Stratton. Per Fox News, he said at the Utah State Legislature earlier in March, "What is legally [right] is often far below what is morally right ... And I recognize our laws are not strong enough to rule an immoral people.”
And for those who are surprised that all of these law changes are taking place in 2019, you should know that the state of Utah is home to a number of esoteric laws. For example, any beer over 4 percent ABV has to be considered liquor, per Thrillist. The publication further reports that bartenders are required to go behind a curtain to pour or mix drinks, that you cannot be served any form of alcohol prior to receiving food in a restaurant, and that there's no legalized happy hour in the state, to name a few.
To be fair, Utah is far from the only state that has laws some people might find strange or archaic. As of August, the following laws exist in other states, per The DailyDot: anal and oral sex are illegal between unmarried people in Alabama; spouses can sue their partner in Arkansas if they get an abortion without the other's consent; anal and oral sex is technically illegal regardless of marital status in Georgia; unmarried sex can yield fines up to $300 in Idaho; noticeable erections in public are illegal in Indiana; anal sex is illegal in Massachusetts; condom demonstrations are illegal in Mississippi; you're not allowed to get married in Nebraska if you have a venereal disease; and strippers aren't allowed to touch patrons in Ohio. For that last law, you might recall Stormy Daniels being arrested for that very act a few months ago.
Either way, congrats to Utah for the new rules.