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NY Legislators Approve Legislation To Overturn 1907 Act That Criminalized Adultery

NY lawmakers pass bill to repeal 1907 law that made adultery a crime (Credits:

Following recent legislative actions, an obscure 1907 law criminalizing adultery in New York is on the brink of repeal. The New York State Senate cast an almost unanimous vote in favor of abolishing the law, a decision now pending approval from Governor Kathy Hochul.

Having already secured passage in the state Assembly last month, the repeal awaits the governor’s review despite ongoing budget discussions.

Wedding Rings (Credits: WCTI)

Across the United States, laws prohibiting adultery remain on the books in various states, yet their enforcement has become increasingly rare.

The New York statute, which treats adultery as a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in prison, was initially enacted as a measure to reduce divorce rates at a time when citing adultery was the sole grounds for legally ending a marriage.

Marriage (Celebrant Spain)

Defined as engaging in sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse, or vice versa, the law has persisted for over a century despite its sparse application in modern times.

The most recent known case brought under this law occurred in 2010, involving a woman in a public park, though the charges were eventually dismissed in a plea deal.

Adultery remains a criminal offense in several other states, typically classified as a misdemeanor. However, in states like Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan, adultery is considered a felony, underscoring the varying degrees of legal severity attributed to the act across the country.

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