“Did this really happen? House committee moves to decriminalize adultery, co-habitation and a strain of marijuana,” reads the headline on the Miami Herald Blog.
The Miami Herald Blog reports. “Word is today that people are still wondering if they existed briefly in an alternate reality Thursday as they watched the conservative House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice embrace a proposed committee bill that would decriminalize adultery, co-habitation and a strain of non-euphoric marijuana as part of a sweeping rewrite of the state’s sentencing laws.” Read more here.
Tad Mackie, an Executive Committee member of the Republican Party of Sarasota, in an email states, “I didn’t ask but I’m OK with it. Adultery is morally wrong … But criminal? Cohabitation is morally wrong … But criminal? Pot should be legal. (like it was before 1934).”
But what are the social costs for legalizing adultery, cohabitation and pot?
Florida has a growing drug abuse problem, especially among our youth, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement looked at drugs in deceased persons and reported, “The Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics estimates that about 85,810 deaths occurred in Florida during January through June 2012. Of these, the medical examiners reported on 4,126 drug-related deaths (whether the cause of death or merely present) through toxicology reports submitted to the Medical Examiners Commission. In order for a death to be considered ‘drug-related,’ there must be at least one drug identified in the decedent; this is recorded as a drug occurrence. The vast majority of these 4,126 cases involved more than one drug listed in the report.”
Florida has the 11th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, with 16.4 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities, according to a new report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic.
The number of drug overdose deaths – a majority of which are from prescription drugs – in Florida doubled since 1999 when the rate was 6.4 per 100,000. Nationally, rates have doubled in 29 states since 1999, quadrupled in four of these states and tripled in 10 more.
The report also finds that Florida received seven out of 10 possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse.
Florida also has a growing number of single parent families, which strain the state’s social services programs including Medicaid.
According to CountyHealthRanking.org Florida has 37% of children living in a single parent household. Individual counties range from 20% in Lafayette County to 59% in Gadsden County, FL. An interactive map of children living in single parent households may be view here. Numerous studies have found a correlation between single parent households and poverty.
Decriminalizing adultery harms divorcees, most of whom are women. So decriminalizing adultery harms women and their children. Great idea.
According to Divorce.Net:
Florida is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that either party may seek a divorce without proving any reason for it other than the spouses don’t want to be married anymore. The spouse seeking a divorce simply needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This rule relieves the court of the complicated duty of deciding who is at fault, and the parties to the marriage are spared having to talk about painful personal issues in court.
Effect of Adultery on Child Custody
However, if one spouse committed adultery, it might affect other elements of the divorce. For example, “moral fitness” is one of the factors the court considers in making custody decisions, so if one parent can prove that the other parent’s adultery had or is reasonably likely to have an adverse impact on the child, the judge might limit that parent’s custody or visitation.
Effect of Adultery on Property Division
Adultery may also affect the division of marital property and debts. Florida is an equitable distribution state, so there is a presumption that the marital assets and liabilities should be evenly divided. This presumption may, however, be overcome by proof that one spouse has intentionally dissipated or wasted marital assets. Gifts, trips, apartment rent, car payments, and dinners for a non-marital partner are all considered a waste of marital assets. The court may reduce the adulterer’s share of martial assets to compensate the other spouse for this waste.
Effect of Adultery on Spousal Support (Alimony)
Florida laws specifically list adultery as a factor to be considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded, but courts have struggled to reconcile the consideration of adultery with the “no fault” concept. The bottom line is that judges will only increase a wronged spouse’s alimony if the adulterous conduct somehow increases that spouse’s monetary needs.
Finally, legalizing marijuana seems to be the new rave or wave by state legislators. Why? Because then they can tax it and spend the money taking care of the growing numbers of drug addicts, poor children from single parent homes and growing number of Floridians on Medicaid.
The Florida legislature is violating nature and nature’s laws. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
UPDATE: FL Rep. Ray Pilon wrote on his Facebook page, “FYI it was only a workshop and no vote was taken.” Rep. Pilon sits on the Criminal Justice sub-Committee.