What’s Not Cheating?

I look at tons of articles, videos, Youtube channels to come up with ideas on what to talk about. Sometimes its an exhausting search but every now and then I find something that literally gives me the double take what the actual fuck look. This is one of them.

Many of us are familiar with the fact that straight men will often cruise for gay sex, especially married men. There are even plenty of gay and bi men who look for heterosexual guys, specifically, for sex. To each his own, or so I thought until I read an article about an interesting law in the UK. The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973 that married couples are able to divorce for five reasons and one of them is adultery. This act specifically states that adultery is defined as “sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.” Essentially meaning that any woman who catches her husband in the arms, legs, bed, or whatever of another man cannot use that as adultery.

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In 2015, a UK woman named Anna tried to file for divorce from her husband, she was denied. Anna and her husband had been married for 20 years before she found out her husband had on 10 separate occasions has sexual relations with men. Of course he denied that it happened, but Anna decided to be a super sleuth and do some evidence discovery. She got his phone and started going through it, she found pictures and jokes of a “gay” nature. This lead her to not believing her husband’s denial of events.

She contacted a lawyer to file for divorce. Her lawyer advised her that she would not be able to use adultery as the reason since the UK deems adultery as between a man and a woman. She was advised that she would be able to pursue divorce under the unreasonable acts part of the statute. This is normally reserved for things like addiction or behaviors that would make it impossible for a couple to remain together. It was a stretch but the judge approved it.

This prompted a search of our own adultery laws in the U.S. of A. What I did notice is that many of the laws we have in place are far more archaic than the UK law. There are still many states that believe adultery laws only apply to women, and, yes, there are states that say a woman who is raped is considered an adulteress. Think about that for a minute. There are actually states out there that believe that only women should be punished for adultery and if they are raped they can still be guilty of adultery.  California considers sexual intercourse by a married woman and a man other than her husband as an offense against public morals. So our laws are as equally as antiquated as other countries.

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Want a bigger rub? Even now, where in the UK gay marriage is legal, if your spouse cheats on you with another member of the same sex it is still not considered adultery. Imagine that, we can legally get married in the UK but if our spouse decides to sleep around with someone else, we cannot consider it cheating, only if they sleep with a member of the opposite sex.

The reality is that these laws are outdated for many reasons and not just with the changes of laws for granting equality to LGBTQ people. In 2003, Lawrence vs Texas case before the Supreme Court removed the Texas sodomy law due to violating people’s right to privacy. This has sparked about seven states to also work to remove adultery and fornication laws from their books. The truth is that you dont often see adultery or sodomny laws being invoked any longer, but being on the books would allow religious agendas to be used as a means of punishing people. The other thing to consider here is that these outdated laws are also unconstitutional. 

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Why not just remove them? As I mentioned, they are rarely enforced and the only way to offer a challenge to them is if you are being prosecuted for the crime. Meaning the only way to push for reform of the adultery laws is to be charged with adultery. The far more sad reason these laws are still on the books is because no legislator would be caught dead trying to decriminalize adultery or fornication. With so many of them worried about re-election, having a group of voters who wouldnt support you because you want to remove things they hold as core of their faith, could ruin your attempts at re-election

There is also the notion that adultery, like fornication laws, are holdover from our more recent past where the church was able to make ruling about marriage and fidelity. We have this mentality of yesteryear that allows church held beliefs to seep into our legislature.

Though removing them does take away a means for someone to file for divorce. Also removing adultery laws would seem to say that the government condones sex outside of marriage. This could lead to more issues with domestic violence than we already see. Plenty of men feel their desire to sleep around is justified based on their home life. Some of these men are also ones who actively engage in spousal abuse, blaming their spouse for their transgressions. With no laws in place to protect them, they would have a far limited set of recourse to end a marriage. 

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What we are seeing is that has humanity progresses, we start to see some of the shackles imposed by law and church are also outdated. Marriage and divorce laws are behind the time and it falls to the people and government to push for reform. Either update existing laws to include gay marriage and stronger women’s rights or remove them completely and bring a much needed reform to marriage and divorce laws.

I’m curious about how you view marriage and adultery. Do you think it should remain an option for divorce? Do you think that marriage/divorce laws need to be updated to more modern approaches? If so, why? Let me know in the comments section how you feel about marriage, divorce, and cheating.

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