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Outdated adultery law to come off the books in Colorado

90 days after the Colorado legislative session adjourns in May the state will likely put a number of new laws into practice. Among those laws will be a repeal of the state's ban on adultery. House Bill 1166 would repeal the state's adultery statute.

Adultery, or sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage, was made illegal in Colorado during the 19th century. Another rarely-used law, which will also be repealed under the new legislation, made it illegal to contribute to "sexual immorality" by providing a hotel room or other place for unmarried people to have sex.

While adultery has been illegal in the state, there is no specific penalty set out according to state law. Even without statutory penalties, some people who oppose the repeal believe that the law is not archaic. Some believe that the state is entitled to set moral standards for people by outlawing conduct such as adultery.

Some people think it may seem unimportant to repeal a law that hasn't been used to prosecute anyone in years. However, the repeal is also based on principle. Passing and maintaining unenforceable laws breeds contempt for all laws and decreases the credibility of the justice system.

In addition, allowing the government to regulate what happens in people's bedrooms, even if the law is not enforced, puts the state on a slippery slope where lawmakers can intrude into people's personal lives. If such a law stays on the books more invasive laws could potentially be passed with precedent down the road.

Source: ABC7, "Bill to repeal crime of adultery in Colorado signed into law," March 22, 2013

To learn more about defending criminal charges in Colorado, please visit our website.

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