July 14, 2011

"If Brown wants to live with five women and call them his girlfriends, his shorties, his harem, the Seattle Storm, or the 101st Airborne, it is of no earthly concern to the rest of us…

"And if he wants to call them his wives, the state of Utah should say, 'Knock yourself out, dude.' That, or nothing."

Steve Chapman weighs in on that bizarro polygamy prosecution and lawsuit I noted here.

I have to say, unless the published reports about this Utah law are leaving something out that somehow makes it all make sense, I find it utterly astonishing that anyone would defend the proposition that the state has the power to regulate mere vocabulary and to punish people for choosing to use the "wrong" words to refer to household members engaging in what is, apart from the vocabulary itself, perfectly legal conduct. And it's a felony! You don't even have to touch the issue of marriage rights or freedom of religion or alternative lifestyles or Lawrence vs. Texas or anything like that. It's a 1st Amendment/free speech violation on its face, it seems to me and it should be thrown out on that basis alone. It's not even a remotely close call.

Are there any other situations where the state criminalizes the vocabulary used in reference to activities that are acknowledged to be otherwise legal? And if so, are there any sensible ones? I can't think of any, but I'm curious.

Posted by Dr. Frank at July 14, 2011 10:52 PM | TrackBack

I think I could legally listen to someone's heartbeat, but not if I call myself a 'doctor'.

Not saying / just saying.

Posted by: Sonic Charmer at July 15, 2011 05:04 AM

Heh, I've done that.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at July 15, 2011 05:20 AM