Decriminalization bills have been introduced in Maine and Massachusetts; a similar bill is expected to be introduced to the City Council in Washington D.C. in June; and lawmakers in Rhode Island held hearings last month on a proposal to study the impact of decriminalizing prostitution.

New York may be next: Some Democratic lawmakers are about to propose a comprehensive decriminalization bill that would eliminate penalties for both women and men engaged in prostitution, as well as the johns whom they service.

“This is about the oldest profession, and understanding that we haven’t been able to deter or end it, in millennia,” said Senator Jessica Ramos, a Democrat from Queens who is one of the plan’s backers. “So I think it’s time to confront reality.”…

Supporters of decriminalization see their efforts as part of a larger, decades-long liberalization of American mores, like lifting Sunday bans on selling alcohol and legalizing marijuana. They also frame the issue as an act of harm-reduction for prostitutes and a tacit admission that modern law enforcement and age-old moral indignation has done little to stem the practice.