August 9, 1996
Sex Should Require Bond of Love, Not Band of Gold
Imagine a couple, in love and confident in their relationship, finding out they will be fined and sent to jail because they made love. Imagine that. Now stop imagining, because this is what happens in Idaho. A law made effective in 1921 allows the state government to prosecute, fine and imprison single men and women who have sex with each other.
Under Idaho law, Title 18, Crimes and Punishment, Chapter 66, Sex and Crimes, 18-6603, "Any unmarried person who shall have sexual intercourse with an unmarried person of the opposite sex shall be deemed guilty of fornication, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, that the sentence imposed of any part thereof may be suspended with or without probation in the discretion of the court."
This piece of legislation not only forces teenagers to make decisions without the proper knowledge required, but it crosses a fine line. The Idaho state government is taking the liberty of involving itself in the most personal parts of its citizens' lives. Before we know it, this kind of law will land in other states. Eventually, the government will be dictating events in our lives such as how our dating habits should be, and who we should date.
"We the people" formed a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," and the government seems to be taking advantage of "the people." This state government should be concerned with supplying its citizens with fair and just laws. This Idaho law pertaining to fornication is an invasion of every Idaho individual's privacy, and every one of these individuals must take action to see that this stops.
In addition to invading citizens' privacy, this bill negates everything we have tried to instill in our children concerning openness and honesty. Not only do we encourage, but we expect children to be open and honest with their elders, especially their parents. We beg them to come to us with any problems or questions, regardless of the topic. Now it seems as if we are sending a different message. This law seems to have the potential to scare young adults away from being able to confide in parents, teachers and counselors at schools, doctors, etc. Young adults will no longer feel that they can ask important and necessary questions about topics such as sex and birth control out of fear that someone will be suspicious of them and their lives. Is this how we want our children growing up?
Rather than threaten teenagers with punishment for acting on their sexual impulses, whether they be rational or not, parents, teachers and others who have influence should be encouraging abstinence and safe sex. There are too many risks involved in sex to be pushing young adults away from those who can show them what is right and safe.Lindsay Froman