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Thursday, June 30,2011

Weird sex laws in the U.S.

By Quibian Salazar-Moreno

Back in the 1700s, U.S. law wasn’t too kind to people who were guilty of sodomy. The illegal act carried a maximum sentence of death.

But in 1778, Thomas Jefferson rewrote the law to save people’s lives and, instead of death, the maximum sentence was castration. Up until 1962, sodomy was considered a felony and, in some states, oral sex, adultery and masturbation fell under the sodomy laws.

In 2003, however, a Supreme Court ruling invalidated all sodomy laws nationwide, upholding a citizen’s right to privacy. But even with that invalidation, there are still some strange sex laws across the nation:

• Adultery is still illegal in many states, including Colorado.

• In Idaho, fornication (defined as sex between unmarried people) is illegal, and those guilty of it can pay a fine of up to $300 or serve a six-month prison sentence.

• Colorado has a law saying it’s even illegal for an innkeeper to knowingly rent a room to unmarried couples if their intent is to have sex. It’s a class 2 misdemeanor. North Carolina has a similar law.

• In Oklahoma, if a man takes a woman’s virginity and doesn’t marry her, it is considered a felony, and the man can face up to five years in prison.

• Under a noise ordinance in Kalamazoo, Mich., you can’t sing in public. So serenading your lover on the banks of the river at Sutherland Park is a no-go.

• In some states, it is illegal for six or more women to live together because it would constitute a brothel.

• The sale of sex toys, specifically, vibrators, is illegal in Alabama and Mississippi. It was illegal in Texas until 2008. Apparently, there aren’t any laws against owning or using one.

• In Utah, first cousins can only marry each other if they’re both over the age of 65. If they can prove they can’t have children, the age drops to 55.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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