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Trying To Outrun Lawrence (Its Time Liberals Legalize Incest Alert - Don't Be Hypocrites!)
Townhall.com ^ | 08/28/05 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 08/28/2005 10:01:18 PM PDT by goldstategop

"I believe severe punishment is required in this case," the judge said at Allen and Pat's sentencing in November 1997. "I think they have to be separated. It's the only way to prevent them from having intercourse in the future."

Allen and Pat were lovers, but a Wisconsin statute enacted in 1849 made their sexual relationship a felony. The law was sometimes used to nail predators who had molested children, but using it to prosecute consenting adults -- Allen was 45; Pat, 30 -- was virtually unheard of. That didn't deter Milwaukee County Judge David Hansher, however. Nor did the fact that the couple was genuinely in love and didn't understand why their relationship should be a crime. Allen and Pat didn't "have to be bright," the judge growled from the bench, to know that having sex with each other was wrong.

He threw the book at them: eight years for Allen, five for Pat, to be served in separate maximum-security prisons, 25 miles apart.

If this had happened to a gay couple, the case would have become a cause celebre. Hard time as punishment for a private, consensual, adult relationship? Activists would have been outraged. Editorial pages would have thundered. Politicians would have called for the prosecutor's and judge's heads.

But Allen and Patricia Muth are not gay. They were convicted of incest. Although they didn't meet until Patricia was 18 -- she had been raised from infancy in foster care -- they were brother and sister, children of the same biological parents. They were also strongly attracted to each other, emotionally and physically. And so, disregarding the taboo against incest, they became a couple and had four children.

When Wisconsin officials learned of the Muths' relationship, they moved to strip them of their parental rights. The state's position, upheld in court, was that their "fundamentally disordered" lifestyle made them unfit for parenthood by definition. "A child raised by incestuous parents," it argued, "is a child raised in a home that mocks even the most rudimentary conception of family." Allen and Patricia's children were taken from them. Then they were prosecuted for incest and sent to prison.

I wrote about the Muths' case shortly after their conviction, asking why social liberals were not up in arms over it. Where were the people who always insist that the government should stay out of people's bedrooms? That what goes on between consenting adults is nobody's business but their own? That a family is defined by love, not conventional morality or deference to ancient taboos? The voices of "diversity" were nowhere to be heard. Patricia and Allen Muth were one "nontraditional" family it seemed no one cared to defend.

But then came Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court's decision in 2003 that the Constitution protects the freedom of Americans to engage in "the most private human conduct, sexual behavior," when it is part of a willing relationship between adults.

"The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in striking down the Texas law under which John Lawrence and Tyron Garner had been convicted of homosexual sodomy. "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

Armed with Lawrence's sweeping language, Allen Muth appealed his conviction.

The taboo against incest may be ancient, and most Americans may sincerely regard it as immoral or repugnant. But Lawrence was clear: "The issue is whether the majority may use the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society through operation of the criminal law." If the Supreme Court meant what it said, Muth argued, his and his sister's convictions for incest were every bit as unconstitutional as the Texas men's convictions for sodomy.

Earlier this summer, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Muth. But it did so on the strained and narrow ground that since Lawrence had dealt specifically with homosexual sodomy, it could not be invoked retroactively to overturn a conviction for incest. The opinion was written by Judge Daniel Manion, a Reagan appointee, and as legal scholar Matthew Franck observed, Manion must have been "desperate to avoid the plain consequences of the [Supreme] Court's recent precedents on sexual liberty."

But those consequences cannot be outrun forever. What Judge Manion declined to do, another judge may embrace. (Or perhaps the high court itself will: Muth has until Sept. 20 to file an appeal from the Seventh Circuit.) There is simply no principled escape from the logic of Lawrence: If the Constitution forbids the states to criminalize private sexual conduct between consenting adults, lovers who happen to be siblings can no more be considered lawbreakers than lovers who happen to be men.

Dissenting in Lawrence, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the decision "effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation." It was a prediction the majority made no effort to refute.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: bedroom; incest; jeffjacoby; lawrence; lawrencevtexas; liberalhypocrites; lovers; privacy
If you can't outlaw sodomy, you can't outlaw incest. If love is legal, then all acts of love are legal. Alan and Patricia Muth's crime were to be in love. Where are the liberal hypocrites? Its time to legalize incest now!

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
1 posted on 08/28/2005 10:01:27 PM PDT by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop

The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the welfare of children, and any children conceived in an incestuous relationship are at an elevated risk of having both major birth defects and other subtler physical defects. That by itself ought to be enough to maintain a ban on incestuous relationships.


2 posted on 08/28/2005 10:13:08 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (Kelo must GO!! ..... http://sonoma-moderate.blogspot.com/)
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To: goldstategop

These people don't need prison, they need some serious psychiatric help.


3 posted on 08/28/2005 10:13:08 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (*Fightin' the system like a $2 hooker on crack*)
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To: goldstategop

---Allen and Pat didn't "have to be bright," the judge growled from the bench, to know that having sex with each other was wrong.---

And evidently you don't have to be bright to be a judge either.


4 posted on 08/28/2005 10:17:12 PM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert

The law, according to lawrence, does not consider mere breeding. (even according to the ABA's model divorce code, adult activity defines the relations NOT the mere accessory of producing offspring)

Thus, according to the left SEX for recreation is all that matters.


5 posted on 08/28/2005 10:21:26 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert

"The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the welfare of children, and any children conceived in an incestuous relationship are at an elevated risk of having both major birth defects and other subtler physical defects."

What about when one of them is infertile? Or when they're of the same sex?

And what about people with genetic diseases that have children ? They're not put in prison even though their children have a higher risk of getting the same genetic disease.


6 posted on 08/28/2005 10:22:09 PM PDT by Moral Hazard ("Now therefore kill every male among the little ones" - Numbers 31:17)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert
I agree with you on the need for morals. You can make a good argument sodomy is equally hazardous to the health and welfare of a person. But as Antonin Scalia pointed out, with Lawrence ALL morals legislation is invalid. If one type of love is legally valid, so is every other variety. And how can liberals support a ban on incest when they laud homosexual relationships? I do support morals legislation - I am pointing out the inconsistency in liberals' stand on them.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
7 posted on 08/28/2005 10:22:36 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

What's next? "A Boy and His Dog"?


8 posted on 08/28/2005 10:23:40 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: longtermmemmory
If Allen and Pat merely had sex, the Left would celebrate it. The childless coupling is a liberal ideal - no wonder they support gays and abortion. Who needs kids?

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
9 posted on 08/28/2005 10:26:53 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert
any children conceived in an incestuous relationship are at an elevated risk of having both major birth defects and other subtler physical defects.

This statement is only valid if the parents (or their parents) are also the product of incest..
The only other contributing factor would be if there were specifically identifiable genetic or physiological defects that had been passed down to the parents / grandparents that could be passed to the offspring..
In other words, it has to be more than a "singular" occurance within a familial group, it has to be an accepted practice..

The taboo against incest requires more than one generation.. then and only then is it valid..

This couple's children stand about the same prospect of birth defects or other physical defect as anyone else..

10 posted on 08/28/2005 10:30:30 PM PDT by Drammach ( I AmThe Sultan of Oom Pa Pa Mow Mow.. Heed My Words..)
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To: Drammach
Yep. And this couple didn't know they were related. Prosecuting them as criminals seems extreme and unfair to me. Its not like Allen and Patricia deliberately set out to break the law.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
11 posted on 08/28/2005 10:33:09 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
I think DU had some kind of post similiar in vein to this a long time back.

The feeling I got was that most of them thought incest (and bigamy) should be legal, but in the case of incest, certain restriction (sterilization or guarantee that the child would be aborted if it had defects, or other guarantees about finanical committement) would be applied.

The left doesn't have any kind of problem with incest, they just don't get emotional about it, and to be honest, I would rather not get them motivated into pushing it, after what happened with this Lawrence case.

12 posted on 08/28/2005 10:35:18 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Sonny M
I wouldn't like to see it happen either. But the Left can't just pretend its judicial activism doesn't have real world consequences for the very nature of our society and the impact on the family structure.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
13 posted on 08/28/2005 10:36:59 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

I don't think it says in the article that they didn't know they were related, they knew and had a relationship anyway if I read it correctly...


14 posted on 08/28/2005 10:37:58 PM PDT by tina07 (Bush/Cheney'04)
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To: goldstategop
Yep. And this couple didn't know they were related. Prosecuting them as criminals seems extreme and unfair to me. Its not like Allen and Patricia deliberately set out to break the law.

From the article, it seems like they didn't know each other until 18, but they did know they were related to each other.

How they found out they were related or what the circumstances are, I'm not sure, but obviously, they did know.

15 posted on 08/28/2005 10:38:16 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: tina07
Yes, exactly. What's the crime? Where's the harm? And taking their children away doesn't square with any family values I know. If they harmed any one else by what they did in the bedroom and how they raised their family, I'd like to know what it was. If biology didn't enter the picture, people would agree they were the perfect family. So it must be the brother-sister hang up thing right? In Ptolemaic Egypt, they would regarded as the epitome of the ideal family.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
16 posted on 08/28/2005 10:40:54 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
I wouldn't like to see it happen either. But the Left can't just pretend its judicial activism doesn't have real world consequences for the very nature of our society and the impact on the family structure.

The problem with the left isn't that they don't think this activism has no effect on the family structure, its that they think its a good effect, which is frightening.

They honestly believe that gay couples and gay marriage and gay adoption are positive things, your real far left folks would push to encourage it.

Their interpretations of reality and their views of consequences are very different (and pretty much insane) to what real reality actually is and what the real effects actually are.

17 posted on 08/28/2005 10:41:51 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Sonny M
Love does strange things to people. Its the most forgivable of all offenses.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
18 posted on 08/28/2005 10:41:56 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
There are better ways to spell loving then marrying ones sibling.

That said, the phrase "Love them like a brother" should never be taken in the contex it was here.

19 posted on 08/28/2005 10:43:36 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: goldstategop

I don't get it, why would one perversion be allowed yet not another? I mean it's only fair right?



Sickos.


20 posted on 08/28/2005 10:44:48 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (I am conservative. That is NOT the same thing as Republican. Losertarians are dead to me.)
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To: Sonny M
To clear up my last post, I should like to clarify that I don't approve of their union but I'm not going to cast aspersion on their love. In a day and age when homosexuals are accorded tolerance, the least I can do is grant this heterosexual couple the same consideration.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
21 posted on 08/28/2005 10:46:57 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: trubluolyguy
Exactly. If we deem transgressions against nature and the laws of God to be wrong, let's be consistent in enforcing them so there is no confusion about what society considers to be right and wrong.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
22 posted on 08/28/2005 10:48:30 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

are you being sarcastic as to the liberal point of view on the definition of love, hopefully so, but prison for them was not the right answer to me either and now there are those four children out there totally destroyed no doubt. (borrowed your 'in memory of...' idea for a tag, hope you don't mind!)


23 posted on 08/28/2005 10:53:05 PM PDT by tina07 (In Memory of my Father - WWII Army Air Force Veteran)
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To: Drammach
This couple's children stand about the same prospect of birth defects or other physical defect as anyone else.

Disagree. A brother and sister are more likely than two strangers out of the general population to carry the same recessive genes. For instance, both my brother and I have flat feet, though neither of our parents do. We appear to have both gotten their recessive genes for flat feet, which were then expressed in both of us. Should we marry and have kids (ew, that's a digusting thought), they would almost certainly have flat feet. Now, flat feet are a small burden to bear, but there are many more harmful recessive genes that carry heavy burdens. I don't think it's fair or right for children to be put at an elevated risk of physical harm.

If you are a professional biologist and can scientifically support your statement that the children of an incestuous union would be at NO more risk than the general population of birth defects, etc., then I am willing to be corrected.

24 posted on 08/28/2005 10:59:35 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (Kelo must GO!! ..... http://sonoma-moderate.blogspot.com/)
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To: tina07
As I stated, I don't agree what happened to them and their children was just or fair - Since liberals believe in "evolving standards" why shouldn't our definition of love be expanded to include incest? By their own reasoning, its the next step towards a more inclusive and tolerant society.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
25 posted on 08/28/2005 11:03:04 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

Doesn't the story imply that the principals were not bright? Is this a story about mentally challenged people?


26 posted on 08/28/2005 11:17:43 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: Drammach
In other words, it has to be more than a "singular" occurance within a familial group, it has to be an accepted practice.

And another thing (boy, you've really got me going here!): If you accept incestuous relationships as a "norm," then they WILL be "accepted practice," and you'll have two- and three-generation streaks of incest -- which will produce a royal genetic mess. You see the problem, I trust: if you accept the first incestuous relationship, how do you have grounds to deny the second, third, etc.? If it was okay for Mom and her brother to get married, why can't sis and I now that we are grownups? Why shouldn't it be a proud family tradition to marry your sibling?

It has to stop with the first generation. If people are nutsy-cuckoo in love with their siblings and just can't help themselves, they should get their tubes tied and have vasectomies. And it should never be dignified with the name of marriage.

27 posted on 08/28/2005 11:35:48 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (Kelo must GO!! ..... http://sonoma-moderate.blogspot.com/)
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later pingout.


28 posted on 08/28/2005 11:38:12 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert
The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the welfare of children, and any children conceived in an incestuous relationship are at an elevated risk of having both major birth defects and other subtler physical defects.

The same is true of children whose parents are both Ashkenazi Jews.

You really want to go down that road?

29 posted on 08/29/2005 12:28:04 AM PDT by John Locke
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To: John Locke
The views of marriage changed even in biblical times. For instance, Jacob married two sisters - a union forbidden by later legislation.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
30 posted on 08/29/2005 12:36:25 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: longtermmemmory
Thus, according to the left SEX for recreation is all that matters.

...is the only kind that is even legitimate.

31 posted on 08/29/2005 5:22:29 AM PDT by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: goldstategop

How soon till NAMBLA floats a test case?
Society is pretty fallen these days, and is getting worse.


32 posted on 08/29/2005 6:13:54 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

ping


33 posted on 08/29/2005 6:23:19 AM PDT by Jack Black
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To: goldstategop
Good essay. Jacoby's just about always great.

I blogitized this.

Dan

34 posted on 08/29/2005 7:55:43 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: goldstategop

As Scalia has said many times since "The Constitutional Right to Privacy" was conjured up from penumbras and emanations, "Privacy to do what?". Without an answer to that question the right to privacy gives cover to any kind of pernicious act.


35 posted on 08/29/2005 9:56:38 AM PDT by Inwoodian
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To: Hetty_Fauxvert
If you are a professional biologist and can scientifically support your statement that the children of an incestuous union would be at NO more risk than the general population of birth defects, etc., then I am willing to be corrected.

Are YOU a professional biologist?
If not, why do you require that qualification of me?

As to the chances, read this:

----------------------------------------------------------
Some have suggested that the incest taboo is a social mechanism to reduce the chances of congenital birth-defects that can result from inbreeding.
Scientists have generally rejected this as an explanation for the incest taboo for two reasons.
First, in many societies partners with whom marriage is forbidden and partners with whom marriage is preferred are equally related in genetic terms; the inbreeding argument would not explain the incest taboo in these societies.
Second, the inbreeding argument oversimplifies the consequences of inbreeding in a population. Inbreeding leads to an increase in homozygocity, that is, the same allele at the same locus on both members of a chromosome pair. This occurs because close relatives are more likely to share more alleles than nonrelated individuals.
If an individual has an allele linked to a congenital birth defect, it is likely that close relatives also have this allele; a homozygote would express the congenital birth defect.
If an individual does not have such an allele, a homozygote would be healthy. Thus, the frequency of a defect-carrying gene in a population may go up, or down, when inbreeding occurs.

Thus, in small populations this dynamic would lead to an initial increase in birth defects.
But if health care is limited, it is likely that such children would not reproduce; consequently, the frequencies for the allele in question would go down.
Ultimately the result would be a population with a large number of homozygotes and a small number of birth defects.
In large populations with good health care, however, it is likely that there will be consistently high levels of heterozygosity despite periodic inbreeding.
Consequently the alleles linked to congenital birth defects will remain in the population, with a significant chance of a homozygote with the linked allele.

-------------------------------------------------------

Wikipedia:Incest

And another thing (boy, you've really got me going here!): If you accept incestuous relationships as a "norm," then they WILL be "accepted practice," and you'll have two- and three-generation streaks of incest -- which will produce a royal genetic mess.

You actually quoted me and then ignored my statement..
In other words, it has to be more than a "singular" occurance within a familial group, it has to be an accepted practice.

I DID NOT "accept incestuous relationships as a "norm"..
I SPECIFICALLY STATED: "singular occurance"..
This translates as: "exception to the norm"..

Was this antagonistic response some sort justification to attack me for daring to disagree with you?
Are you somehow offended when someone disagrees with you?

36 posted on 08/29/2005 1:07:56 PM PDT by Drammach ( I AmThe Sultan of Oom Pa Pa Mow Mow.. Heed My Words..)
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