Salon: Should bestiality be illegal?
posted at 12:41 pm on December 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
It’s important to note that Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory doesn’t take a position on this difficult question. Instead, she just offers the post-Lawrence case that it’s really none of our business:
The lawyers aren’t arguing that Romero necessarily has a right to sex with donkeys, or any other farm animals for that matter. They’re specifically targeting the language of Florida’s anti-bestiality law, which does not require proof that an animal has been harmed or “of the sexual activity being non-consensual,” or even of penetrative sexual contact.
The attorneys write, “Therefore, the only possible rational basis for the statute is a moral objection to sexual acts considered deviant or downright ‘disgusting.’” And that, they argue, is unconstitutional: “The personal morals of the majority, whether based on religion or traditions, cannot be used as a reason to deprive a person of their personal liberties.”
If, however, “the statute were to require sexual conduct with animals to be nonconsensual or to cause injury in order to be a crime, then perhaps the State would have a rational basis and legitimate state interest in enforcement,” they write.
It may be an opportunistic defense, sure, but it also brings up some interesting, if squirm-worthy, questions: Why should bestiality be illegal? Is it because it’s socially unacceptable or because it causes harm to animals? If it’s the latter, is it OK for people to have sexual contact with animals in cases where the animal isn’t harmed?
I look forward to the development of the “consenting critters” doctrine.