Read the rest here, if you have the stomach. And if your stomach is strong, read the comments.
Given the recent news story about father-adult daughter incest, I thought I’d ask a few questions about adult-adult incest (speaking specifically of parent-child, grandparent-grandchild, or brother-sister, and setting aside cousins and the like):
(1) Should it be illegal, and, if so, exactly why? Is it just because it’s immoral? Because legalizing incest would, by making a future sexual relationship more speakable and legitimate, potentially affect the family relationship even while the child is underage (the view to which I tentatively incline)? Because it involves a heightened risk of birth defects (a view I’m skeptical about, given that we don’t criminalize sex by carriers of genes that make serious hereditary disease much more likely than incest does)?(2) Given Lawrence v. Texas — and similar pre–Lawrence decisions in several states, applying their state constitutions — what exactly is the basis for outlawing incest? Is it that bans on gay sex are irrational but bans on adult incest are rational, and rationality is all that’s required for regulations of adult sex? Is it that bans on gay sex don’t pass strict scrutiny (or some such demanding test) but bans on adult incest do? Is it that Lawrence rested on the fact that bans on gay sex largely foreclose all personally meaningful sexual relationships for those who are purely homosexual in orientation, whereas incest bans only foreclose a few possible sexual partners?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The cultural barbarians are at the gates, pressing their irresistible logic. Now that we are subjecting things like same-sex "marriage" to the "rational basis" test in courts, why not also apply it to incest? Here is Eugene Volokh, already asking the questions that, if we follow the logic of those who are pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage, will bring incest laws down as well: