In an opinion piece, columnist and president of the National Organization for Marriage Maggie Gallagher questions whether Americans should have the "right to adultery".
Going against the commonly held opinion of many in the legal community, Gallagher takes a dim view of tolerating marital infidelity.
Citing that "adultery involves twin offenses: (1) the violation by a married person of his or her vows; and (2) a third party's decision to invade another person's marriage, to seek their own personal satisfaction at the expense of the unknowing and unconsenting spouse", she is especially intolerant of using this common phenomenon as "a pathway to commercial success, " citing websites that help straying spouses to find sex partners, Rielle Hunter capitalizing on her status as "the other woman", and prostitute Ashley Dupre making money as a sex columnist on the New York Post. Gallagher states that she would like to see commercially soliciting for adultery be legally classified the same way as soliciting for prostitution.
Waving aside the truth that one cannot legislate morality, she believes that we need to "come up with a way to encourage a little common decency."
Gallagher insists that she doesn't want to persecute "every man or woman who has sinned," but rather that "people who commit this moral trespass to have the decency not to attempt to profit from it in the national media".
OK, where to begin?
First of all, the right for any adult to have sovereignty over their own bodies; the free choice to engage in any sort of sexual behavior they see fit, provided that their partner(s) are consenting adults, should be beyond question. Even when people have willingly agreed to restrict some of that freedom when entering a monogamous marriage, any departures from this agreement should be an entirely private matter between those involved and not something for the government to meddle in. The injured party should retain the right to sue for breach of contract as a practical matter, but the government has no business meddling in the private affairs of adults as a moral matter. Better yet, the government should drop sexual exclusivity as a necessary component of a legal marriage
Secondly, notions of what is moral and decent are highly subjective matters. Who gets to decide what is moral or decent and what should such ideas be based on? Gallagher openly states that adultery is a "sin", which is a purely religious idea and should have absolutely no place whatsoever in secular law that governs the actions of all citizens of all religions and of no religion.
My suggestion to Gallagher and others like her who are offended by those making money off of adultery would be to vote with their wallets and their feet. Don't patronize businesses that match married people with new sex partners, don't tune into TV shows or read magazine articles that feature Rielle Hunter, don't read newspaper columns by prostitutes, and so on. But don't restrict the freedom of others to do so, either.
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