Friday, January 26, 2007

An extensive look at HB1661: Adultery; definition.

HB1661 has ben generating a bit of buzz thanks to Richmond Sunlight. In some ways I feel people have given it a level of dismissal deserving of such a petty waste of time. Then again, giving each change proposed to section 18.2-365 of the Code of Virginia further consideration, perhaps they should.

The first change in the bill is the term "sexual intercourse" being replaced with "carnal knowledge." To a degree this makes sense, since sexual intercourse is usually defined as either strictly being vaginal penetration by the penis or less commonly as penetration of any bodily orifice by the penis. If Del. Rob Marshall wishes to include other acts as adultery, a term other than sexual intercourse does seem practical. Carnal knowledge is a commonly used term in the code of Virginia. It certainly doesn't seem as biblically loaded a term as sodomy. However the sexual context of knowledge seems to be biblical in root, though my etymology on that is not concrete. Deviant sexual intercourse could have been another option, though that might frame the acts in a negative connotation... other than categorizing them as illegal.

The next change is the addition of "male or female." This is not actually a necessarily change. The original "any person" was perfectly satisfactory in implying that the third party could be either the same or opposite sex as the accused. The original text never implied that it was exclusive to heterosexual activities beyond the possible interpretation of sexual intercourse, which would be covered by changing the term to carnal knowledge.

The only explanation for this addition of genders that I can muster is to draw further enthuses on homosexuality. Del. Rob Marshall caught the state's attention last election with his amendment to the state bill of rights that not only reiterated state law's prohibition of gay marriage, but also deprived any other form of union from the "the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." Consequently, unbeknownst at the time by most casual readers, the amendment's language put the rights of unmarried heterosexual couples in just as much jeopardy as homosexuals (short of the fact that heterosexuals could fix such by getting married). It would seem that his motivation for redefining of adultery, practical or not, would be to find yet another way to pursue his own gay agenda against homosexuals. Why else would he we be so inclined to explicitly state either gender when it's already understood?

The final and most important change is what would appear to be a definition of the term carnal knowledge as it applies to this law. Since most bills in Virginia state code do not bother to define carnal knowledge, this would seem rather considerate of him. However, this is not really a definition, but rather a typically vague (of him) list of what acts carnal knowledge "includes." It is implied that this is not an entire list of the acts, which raises the troubling question: what else constitutes carnal knowledge? To gather some idea, the first place to start would be to examine what is included and consider what is of relative similarity, then to consider what isn't included and consider why.

What we begin to find in Marshall's list is a pretty basic list of standard sexual acts. Reading along in sequence, there's nothing to be surprised about the presence of cunnilingus and fellatio, but what follows has quickly become the center of attention with regard to this bill: the inclusion of anilingus.



What provoked Del. Bob Marshall to feel this was something important enough to include?

Was he watching Queer as Folk in hopes of finding new ways to once again stick it to the gays?

Is he simply obsessed with sex?

Has Kevin Smith moved on from corrupting the minds of our youths to corrupting the minds of our delegates?

Will Bob Marshall pay for the therapy bills that are sure to amass from googling anilingus?

These are all some pretty basic responses to reading Marshall's bill that I've heard in one wording or another. (Some of them were the first few things that ran through my head anyway.) They're all pretty reasonable reactions, but when I stopped joking and really thought about it, none of them seem to touch on what really troubles me about this act being included.

All ye easy to gross out... bear with me on this.

In the case of sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, and anal intercourse, sexual climax in at least one partner can be achieved to varying degrees of satisfaction from the stimulation of either/and/or the penis, prostate, clitoris, labia minor and majora, vaginal canal and/or the Gräfenberg spot. With anilingus being oral stimulation of the anus, none of the primary nerves for sexual climax are being stimulated. Arguably, if someone's tongue were long enough they could accomplish prostate milking or possibly similar stimulation of the Gräfenberg spot orally, but I imagine in most cases those (particularly the latter) would be fairly exceptional accomplishments. It should also be acknowledged that sexual stimulation of any kind can in some people induce sexual climax due to either abnormal fixation or premature disorder, but again these are the exception and not the norm. Apparently, anilingus is commonly performed prior to fellatio to induce arousal, not climax.

Returning to my point that the first place to start would be to examine what is included and consider what is of relative similarity, he has included a sexually arousing act that does not commonly (if normally ever) induce climax. Think about it. The implications that this could open up are pretty disturbing. By this logic could mammary fondling, buttocks grabbing, or even an intense kiss be considered adultery? Granted, anilingus is a bit more provocative (to put it mildly) than a kiss, but exactly where would this legally draw the line between more foreplay associative behavior and actual sex?

I ask again: What provoked Del. Bob Marshall to feel this was something important enough to include? Why this and not something else? After all, as it is listed, he considers anilingus as an isolated act to be adultery... as if someone would simply lick a partner's posterior without progressing to any other behavior.

Honey, I have a confession to make.

What is it dear?

Last Thursday when I said I was working late...

Yes dear?

... I let someone lick my anus.

Wouldn't an erotic massage (not necessarily to be confused with the therapy of the same name for treating premature ejaculation, though it is, to my knowledge, not culturally or legally accepted to be performed in the states and basically the same thing anyway) be a more convenient and realistic means of cheating on a spouse? Seriously, what drink too many gets a tongue in your butt?

This bill may seem funny, but it's not a laughing matter. I believe that is the answer to why Marshall included anilingus: people are too shocked to take the implications seriously. Social conservatives will gladly vote it in as people did what they thought was simply a gay marriage law, and what we will be left with is a very loose definition of what constitutes adultery that could reach out to many less extreme areas of marital infidelity.

As I expressed in my last entry, I do not support adultery. To say the least, I am very skeptical of the government interfering with such matters on any level beyond recognizing it as grounds for divorce and facilitating such proceedings. I am not trying to imply that it is ok for someone to cheat on their spouse on any level, be it a grope, kiss, or sex. These are simply matters for the parties involved to sort out. This bill will only make government inexcusably bigger and more intrusive. Wasn't that the exact opposite of what the defining philosophies of the Republican Party are supposed to stand for? I can think of few finer examples of a prime target for legislative reform than this bill and the man behind it.


Anonymous Tim McCormack said...

"Seriously, what drink too many gets a tongue in your butt?"

That's the quote of the week. You have... a way with words.

12:58 AM  

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