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Equality under Law

April 27th, 2003 · No Comments

Slate’s Will Saletan reminds us of some of the unsavory features of incest laws:

According to the court’s statement of facts, the appellant, Ami Smith, “was involved in an incestuous relationship with her paternal uncle,” which “began while [she] was still a minor.” She “was eighteen years old when charged,” “entered a guilty plea to one count of incest and was sentenced to three years supervised probation,” for the violation of which she was subsequently sentenced to serve five years in jail. Laws against sexual abuse apply only to the perpetrator. Laws against incest apply in theory to both participants, and in this case they applied in fact. If you want to justify incest laws, don’t tell me why Ami Smith’s uncle belongs in jail. Tell me why she belongs there, too.

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