Technically, it’s a crime to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire, though the anti-adultery law hasn’t been enforced in more than 10 years. But soon, you may only need to worry about the moral ramifications of stepping out on your husband or wife, not the potential legal ones. Rep. Tim O’Flaherty, a Democrat, sponsored a House bill to repeal the statute, which dates back to the early 1800s, the AP reports. The House passed the bill; if the Senate does the same on Thursday (and it’s expected to, the Washington Post reports), the governor has said she will likely sign it, meaning it would go into effect January 1.
Adultery is currently a misdemeanor punishable by a fine as high as $1,200. O’Flaherty held a public hearing last month on his measure, and the only person to argue in favor of keeping the adultery ban was a man who once attempted to file a criminal adultery complaint against his wife; she was never charged with a crime. His argument: “If we retain adultery as a crime, we may deter an otherwise law-abiding citizen … from falling into the trap of that repugnant behavior.” (Maybe he’s also the guy who wrote this letter to the editor arguing for the ban to remain intact?) Interestingly, the anti-adultery law defines adultery as between a man and a woman: “intercourse from which spurious issue [a child born out of wedlock] may arise.” Adultery is currently a crime in 21 states.
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