Archive for April 1st, 2011

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country. –  Jonathan Swift

Though Alaskan politics isn’t usually a major topic of online commentary, this article from the Anchorage Daily News of last Thursday (March 24th) caused quite a stir; it’s about a local politician stating that he favors the criminalization of extramarital sex:

Gov. Sean Parnell’s appointee for the panel that nominates state judges testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage…One blog post on the [website of] Eagle Forum Alaska…[a social conservative organization in which candidate Don Haase holds a leadership position] praised efforts at criminalizing adultery in Michigan, and [Alaska state senator] Paskvan asked Haase if he thought it should be a felony in Alaska.  “I don’t see that that would rise to the level of a felony,” Haase said.

Paskvan:  “Do you believe it should be a crime?”
Haase:  “Yeah, I think it’s very harmful to have extramarital affairs.  It’s harmful to children, it’s harmful to the spouse who entered a legally binding agreement to marry the person that’s cheating on them.”
Paskvan:  “What about premarital affairs — should that be a crime?”
Haase:  “I think that would be up to the voters certainly.  If it came before (the state) as a vote, I probably would vote for it…I can see where it would be a matter for the state to be involved with because of the spread of disease and the likelihood that it would cause violence.  I can see legitimate reasons to push that as a crime.”

Haase then asked why those questions were relevant.  “You are injecting yourself into the judicial system and so I think it’s fair inquiry,” Paskvan replied.  “If you have a motivation to limit who would be advanced to a judgeship…then your beliefs and attitudes are important,” Paskvan said.  Haase said he opposed judicial activism, and cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade as an example.  In his campaign for state House last year, Haase made his opposition to abortion a central theme.  Abortion is also a prominent theme on the Eagle Forum Alaska blog…

You’ll have to pardon my amusement at the general consternation which has arisen in the media over this control freak’s position; it’s another case of “welcome to our world”, since whores constantly have to endure self-appointed “guardians of the public morals” advocating criminalization of our private sex lives, often using these same excuses.  But though many of you read this article last week, most probably missed this related story from this morning’s Huffington Post:

A Texas legislator said he agrees with the Alaskan politician who last week stated that extramarital sex should be illegal, but he proposes a way to minimize social repercussions from the ban while making money for the state.  State Representative Fairlay D. Sloop (D – Telegraph) suggests that Texas create a legal “temporary marriage” similar to that found in Islamic law.

“I know we’ve got this bill pending to ban Texas courts from considering Sharia, but even if that passes it doesn’t mean we can’t make a law similar to one of theirs,” said Sloop in a press conference this morning.  “After all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and this would let the state control the spread of disease and even out-of-wedlock pregnancy.”

In Shi’a Islam, the Nikāh al-Mut‘ah (temporary marriage) is a marriage of fixed term which is decided at the outset and automatically dissolves at the end of that time.  The term can be as short as an hour, and the only financial compensation the woman receives is that decided upon when the contract is established.  A reporter familiar with the custom asked Sloop if his proposed Texas version would include the mandatory three-month waiting period between such marriages required in Islamic law.

“Well, that’s something we can hash out if the bill gets that far,” said Sloop; “in its current form there is no such requirement.  I figure that way, we can even tax prostitution without legalizing it.  If a prostitute wants to stay legal, she can just contract a temporary marriage with her john, pay her $10 fee at the courthouse and get married for an hour.  It would also help to fight human trafficking because we could check IDs, and keep underage girls from getting into it.”

While I think Sloop’s proposal hasn’t a snowball’s chance in South Texas of passing, and I’m extremely skeptical of his idea that whores would be willing to limit themselves to unmarried customers and register at the courthouse several times a day merely to stay technically legal, I have to congratulate him for original thinking.  Is his suggestion any more farfetched than the idea that it’s possible to entirely eradicate an institution which has existed since before we were human, or the bizarre neofeminist belief that one woman’s private sexual behavior somehow magically affects every other woman?  And if states have the power to create a new form of marriage which never existed prior to this century, why not the power to create a secular American version of an established form of traditional marriage from another culture?  In some ways, it makes a lot more sense than traditional marriage for the Americans of today.

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