Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Maybe America Could Learn Something Here...

About a week ago, Canada's Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who ran a club where consenting adults could use a private room to participate in group sex. Prosecuters argued that the man was running a "bawdy house" where prostitution and acts of public indecency were taking place. However, the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling, essentially, that because the participants were engaging in consensual acts in private rooms, they did not constitute any conceivable threat to the public and therefore should not be considered as acting illegaly. This ruling has lasting implications because it sets the precedence in distinguishing the ramifications of a person's actions in determining whether or not it is a crime. Rather than arguing whether the defendant's actions "breached the rules of conduct necessary for the proper functioning of society", prosecuters must now argue more strongly in proving actual "harm or risk" to society. Good job, Canada -- it's a step closer in realizing a culture in which people live and let live. The North seems to have a healthy understanding of the problems in legislating morality, and an understanding of how commiting a country to diversity of peoples will require a more loosely-based understanding of such cultural specific ideas like "indency" and "immorality". Instead of using the long arm of the law to force everyone to live according to the stringent moralities of a fraction of those peoples, it is better to let the law tolerate harmless diversity. If only America could understand that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is no one else's business, maybe we might finally see gay rights realized down here.


Anonymous Mac said...

I get what you're trying to say, but that's a poor example. We've had these types of clubs here in the U.S. for decades.

12/27/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger jose said...

Yeah, we've had sex clubs and swingers parties, but they weren't really legal and police turned a blind eye, at least until Lawrence v. Texas. The Canada ruling is more applicable to U.S. "community standards" which is based on an average person's perception of offensiveness, whereas the Canada ruling requires a more stringent requirement of actual harm.

12/27/2005 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Swingers' clubs are not considered legal in the States. In many states, sodomy is still illegal, and sodomy is defined as any sexual act not committed for the purpose of procreation.

Just because you rarely see people prosecuted for these crimes doesn't mean the government condones them. Unfortunately, in this country, private sexuality still seems to be under the purvue of the law.

12/29/2005 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

In many states, sodomy is still illegal, and sodomy is defined as any sexual act not committed for the purpose of procreation.

Are you sure that's still true? I swear that I heard that Texas was the last holdout on that law and it was finally struck down as unconstitutional.

12/30/2005 01:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Mac said...

I don't know about other states, but they are legal here in Nevad and I believe Cali as well.

12/30/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Meant to comment back but the Carnival got in the way. Sodomy laws are still on the books in a good ten states including Texas and Virginia -- most prohibit both heterosexual and homosexual sex.

The reason why no one is prosecuted under those laws is because the Supreme Court ruled sodomy laws unconsitutional in 2000 (I believe...). However, that does not actually strike those laws from the books; to do that would require an actual act of each state to remove those laws. Symbolically, it indicates that in each of those states, for all intents and purposes, sodomy is considered illegal. It is merely an unprosecutable crime.

For the purpose of this discussion, you have to consider why those states never independently removed the sodomy laws from the books before the Supreme Court ruling -- and what this Canadian ruling implies for the rationale behind a sodomy law, i.e., how Canada thinks about what should be made an illegal act versus how America thinks about what should be made an illegal act.

1/06/2006 11:38:00 PM  
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