Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Part V: WHAT TO DO?

A STATE-BY-STATE LOOK AT CONSENSUAL CRIME


Rebellion to tyrants
is obedience to God.
THOMAS JEFFERSON
chosen as the motto for his seal
1776
IT HAS ALWAYS STRUCK me as odd that a consensual act should be legal in one state and illegal in another. What is it about stepping over the imaginary line dividing state from state that converts you from a criminal to a noncriminal?
Imagine a bed in a motel room. The state line divides the bed: on one side of the bed you are in one state, on the other side of the bed you're in another. You and your consenting adult partner, lying on either side of the bed, could be committing the same activity, but one of you would be a criminal and the other would not.
If you were on the Connecticut–Rhode Island border, for example, you could be involved in an act of oral sex (either heterosexual or homosexual) and the partner on the Rhode Island side would be breaking the law while the partner on the Connecticut side would not.
On the New York–New Jersey border, if one of you happens to be married to another, you are guilty of adultery on the New York side of the bed, but not guilty of adultery (in the legal sense) on the New Jersey side.
Perhaps the most stunning example of this would be anal sex (again, either homosexual or heterosexual) if you were on the Idaho-Wyoming border. The partner on the Wyoming side of the bed would be committing no crime at all; the partner on the Idaho side would be subject to life imprisonment.
Drug use and unconventional medical practices, thanks to the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, are illegal everywhere.

I believe we are on
an irreversible trend toward
more freedom and democracy.
But that will change.
VICE-PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE
Full-scale gambling is legal only in Nevada and Atlantic City. Limited forms of gambling (race tracks, card clubs, off-track betting) are usually determined at the local (not state) level, thus too ambitious for our humble chart. If your state has a state-run lottery, you'll know: lotteries tend to advertise more than Coca-Cola.
This leaves us with a state-by-state chart that deals mostly with sex and assisted suicide. What a combination. The "Age of Consent" column applies to sex only, not alcohol—due to federal pressure, alcohol is limited to persons twenty-one and older.
The chart is as accurate as we could make it as of early 1996. The fastest growing category, in terms of illegality, seems to be assisted suicide. This chart is provided as a starting point for political change. Before you take part in any activity within any state, please check with local authorities. End of disclaimer; let's move on to the chart. (Information provided by Thomas Coleman, Spectrum Institute, P.O. Box 65756, Los Angeles, California 90065.)

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