A few months ago, State Senator Chip Campsen sought to pass legislation enacting criminal penalties against clergy who conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex partners on the stated basis that there is no point in making something a crime unless penalties are enacted to prevent the crime from occurring.
This is part of a Statewide (and maybe Regional or National) trend to legislate morality. But, somehow those who are trying to come up with new and sundry ways to criminalize acts which offend their moral sensibilities are ignoring the fact that we already have laws on the books of this nature that are rarely (if ever enforced). For example:
SC Code Ann. § 16-15-60 (1976, as amended) titled “Adultery or fornication” provides:
Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
SC Code Ann. § 16-15-80 provides,
"Fornication" is the living together and carnal intercourse with each other or habitual carnal intercourse with each other without living together of a man and woman, both being unmarried.
Former Lt. Governor Bob Peeler has admitted that he committed adultery. And while Governor Sanford's [former] Spokesperson Will Folks has denied that he committed Domestic Abuse, evidence suggests that he is guilty of the crime of fornication. So why isn't Campsen calling for the prosecution of the former Lt. Governor and Mr. Folks? Could it be because they are white, male, Republican, heterosexual Conservatives?
Mr. Peeler has been quoted as saying that his situation is a “private matter.” And well he should given that he would apparently be facing multiple counts of adultery if the applicable law were applied strictly. Maybe he would be interested in helping repeal this silly law and in convincing Senator Campsen not to try to enact any more silly laws.
-- Name withheld upon request, Summerville, S.C.