Live free or die: New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

BOSTON Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:40pm EDT

BOSTON (Reuters) - New Hampshire lawmakers on Thursday voted to scrap an ancient law that makes cheating on your spouse a criminal offense in the New England state whose motto is "Live Free or Die."

Governor Maggie Hassan is expected to sign the bill into law, making adultery legal in the Granite State for the first time in hundreds of years.

Back in 1791, being unfaithful in New Hampshire earned you an hour of public embarrassment on the gallows, as many as 39 lashes, a one-year prison sentence, and a big fine.

That punishment has gradually been ratcheted back to an unenforced fine, but lawmakers on Thursday said even that was too much.

A spokesman for the state Senate said the bill to repeal the crime of adultery passed Thursday with a voice vote.

More than 20 states still have laws against adultery, and some, including Michigan and Wisconsin, still consider it a felony offense.

While opinions about states policing the bedroom may be mixed, a CNN poll in January showed that 93 percent of Americans think cheating is morally wrong.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Comments (2)
GeoffWard wrote:
NH: “We condone adultery”.

The key thing to keep an eye on is whether they condone equally male adultery and female adultery, and also inter-racial adultery.

Morally wrong but legally acceptable – hmm, more work for the lawyers.

At least it will allow a few presidents to sleep better in the history books.

Apr 18, 2014 12:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ounbbl wrote:
You only need an excuse to give to your spouse. Or better, don’t marry, just cohabitate.

How about ‘fornication’? Or, is it not in the law book?

Apr 18, 2014 6:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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