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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Breakin' the law, breakin' the law!

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Author Topic: Breakin' the law, breakin' the law!
Dzuunmod
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How do you feel about people who disregard the law, sexually-speaking? I'm not talking about rape, I'm not talking about any kind of assault or harassment. I'm talking about things like oral sex, anal sex and a variety of other things, in places where they are illegal.

I'm looking at:
the United States (Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, Utah, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, Idaho, Florida), Algeria, Cape Verde, Somalia, Barbados, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and a variety of others. For more info on many of these, go here.

Is there anyone here who supports such laws? I know we have users in some of these places - certainly the American states listed - so I wonder, if you've ever had oral/anal sex, are you ever conscious of the fact that you're breaking the law while you're doing it?

Of course this all gets at the larger issue: is it okay to break laws that you think are bad?

Personally, I was at one time, a very law-and-order type of guy, but I've come around on this. I support people who've got the courage to break laws which apply to truly victimless crimes. What do y'all think?

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You can twist his body 'til it faces backwards/Those plastic features/You could make somebody a pretty little wife/But don't let anybody tell you how to live your life.
-Elvis Costello, Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 03-13-2003).]


Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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To a large extent, I'm right there with you on this one, bud. Laws which are on the books but are hopelessly archaic (and therefore not enforced by law enforcement) are laws which I don't tend to think all that much about. Whether it's a regulation prohibiting oral sex or a municipal code that governs when you can and cannot tie your horse up at the front of the local saloon, unenforced laws are essentially meaningless.

I'm never quite clear on why certain rules are still on the books even when they have long outlasted their usefulness. My best guess is that the laws are either (in the case of oral sex) a touchy subject that legislators don't want to mess with, or (as in the case of the horse-parking law) so archaic that even the legislators themselves think they've been repealed.

Either way though, it does pose a problem. There are tons of people who would love to be perfectly law-abiding citizens, but who enjoy particular sexual acts with their loved ones that stick them over the line into archaic illegality. It's silly, really.

As far as backing people who violate enforced laws goes, I'm not so much into that. If laws are being enforced, there is an immediate difference between such a law and one which is archaic and ignored. And whether one thinks it is a "good" law or not, I personally wouldn't condone the violation of any enforced laws. That is where I personally draw the line, and it tends to be a surefire way to avoid arrest!

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PBOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by BruinDan:
And whether one thinks it is a "good" law or not, I personally wouldn't condone the violation of any enforced laws. That is where I personally draw the line, and it tends to be a surefire way to avoid arrest!


I disagree entirely. I think it should be a person's own moral judgement that dictates their behaviour, not a law. Over the years there have been many laws that have been very, very wrong, should these have been obeyed? Should gay men in Victorian England denyed their sexuality because homosexual activity was illegal? Should good Americans have refused to help slaves escape because it was illegal? If a religion is made illegal (which has happened at times) should its followers stop believing in it?


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by UKgirl:
Should gay men in Victorian England denyed their sexuality because homosexual activity was illegal?

Should I not punch you in the face because I disagree with your opinion? Now you and I both know that I'd never do such a thing to a friend, so fear not. But do you see the point there? If you are going to try and rely on moral judgment calls, a line is going to have to be drawn someplace. Is it okay to wallop somebody when they look at you wrong? Probably not. Is it okay to dance naked in the snow in an anti-fur protest? Probably so. It's all varying degrees of acceptability that are going to have to be weighed somehow, by someone just as human (and therefore, biased) as you and I.

But you do bring up a good point, which is just what one should do when one feels that a law is unduly harsh and unjust. And in the cases you've brought up (assisting slaves, etc), I think hindsight helps us see great merit in what some brave souls did to try and right some wrongs. Even today, where laws are unjustly applied to various groups (denying tenets of marriage to homosexuals, for example), there is room to protest and do what one can to change things.

But, as in all cases when one bucks the trend, it is wise to be aware of the repurcussions. I once spoke to a friend who had attended an anti-globalization protest nearby. His chief complaint was that "the cops arrested us, man!" To which I replied, "And if you hadn't been throwing bottles at them, it would not have happened." It's fairly simple logic really, but I think it gets lost on people who become so hung up on "fighting the good fight" that they lose sight of actions they take which could land them in serious hot water.

And so, more power to you if you feel the need to challenge established laws. But do remember that there is danger inherent in it, and that moral judgment calls made by one person do not necessarily equal moral judgment calls made by somebody else.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PBOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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UKgirl
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I'm sorry, I was sleepy when I posted the above and missed out some bits that I meant to put in.
Yes, for these things there is a risk of getting sentenced, and that must be taken into account before deciding to do them. My view is that this risk should be ONE of the factors that are considered, not the only one.
Equally, a lot of sexual activity carries risk of pregnancy and STD transmission. This does not always mean that we choose not to do them. Instead we accept and try to minimise those risks. Likewise, I think that if a person understands and accepts the legal, and other, risks involved in an activity and still thinks that it is worth doing, and the right thing to do, that is their decision.
I'm not an expert on this but it strikes me that, in the case of many of the illegal sexual acts notecd above, it would be fairly unlikely that you would be caught so long as it was consensual and you took reasonable precautions, like not talking about (or doing it) in public.

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Confused boy
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I think the problem of breaking laws stems from a difference between our moral values and the ones the legal system is based on. Western societies are becoming more secular (with the possible exception of America) and yet the laws are still influenced by Christian morality. The real movement should not be trying to scratch away at archaic laws but a broader strategy to reframe laws with a liberal morality. The basis of this would be that one can do what they wish as long as they do not deliberately (or negligently) harm other people or their property.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Dzuunmod
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That's an interesting thought, CB, but I don't really ever see it going down that way - at least not in Canada I don't. I think that chipping away is going to have to suffice.

But, that's not to say that I wouldn't support such a movement.

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You can twist his body 'til it faces backwards/Those plastic features/You could make somebody a pretty little wife/But don't let anybody tell you how to live your life.
-Elvis Costello, Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)


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DarkChild717
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Well, does it count that if I eat a lollipop in Washington, I'm breaking the law?

That one is just hopelessly archaic, and I find it funny to know that every Halloween, families give out illegal candy.

As far as the sex ones go, Washington doesn't have any to my knowledge. If it did, I probably wounldn't care. The police don't enforce it, and it'd be quite interesting to be in the middle of recieving oral sex and have a officer walk into my bedroom

Plus, short of pictures, how could they get evidence to prosecute? (should they push the matter)


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Dzuunmod
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Small update on this:

A Senator from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania recently caused a stir when he essentially said that he supports anti-sodomy laws.

His argument is that if you let people have homosexual sex, then where do you draw the line? If sodomy is a privacy issue, do we then let people have, in the privacy of their own homes, incest, beastiality and all sorts of other things?

Well, of course, there are a million holes that could be shot right through his argument, the number one being that there are laws against many of the other things that he lists, and people aren't arguing, for the most part, that those laws should be repealed.

Basically, he only wants people to have the kind(s) of sex that he agrees with. Moron.

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...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue!
-Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love


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nacarter
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With the Penn. senator, it's another dose of the slippery slope argument. The same argument was used to exclude sexual orientation from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The problem with this argument is that it misses the key difference between sodomy and the other activities that are also condemned by this particular individual: bestiality, paedophilia, etc. etc. etc. Sodomy is a sex act between two consenting adults (as defined by the laws of that jurisdiction). Beastiality, paedophilia, etc. are not between consenting parties and therefore should not be legal. When sodomy is not a consensual act (one party is underage or is coerced) it should also continue to be banned.


Posts: 23 | From: Guelph, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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