Why Michigan is Right to Pass the Bill “Criminalizing Oral & Anal Sex”

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Sorta transcript:

The Michigan state government is in the news a lot these days, mostly thanks to all the lead poisoning they’ve been giving poor people. But now they’ve set themselves apart in a new way that’s sure to make us all forget about what’s going on in Flint: they’ve passed a bill criminalizing anal and oral sex!

Now before we get too riled up, I want to point out something that will prevent this from being blown out of proportion: oral and anal sex were already criminal acts in Michigan. Okay? Jeez. Calm down everyone.

That is to say, Michigan already had those laws, but they’re unconstitutional and can’t be legally enforced. This is the weird thing about the US: because we have both state and federal laws, with federal trumping state, we have loads of antiquated, silly, and sometimes bigoted laws on the books in various states that aren’t actually constitutional so they’re not really in effect. But no one has got around to wiping them out of the books yet, because that requires a bunch of annoying work. And you know how politicians feel about doing work. I mean, apparently in Michigan it was illegal to swear in front of women and children until 2002, when they were forced to repeal the law after a man fell out of a canoe, swore, got arrested, and then was represented by the ACLU.

And that’s what usually ends up happening: the illegal laws remain on the books until some gung ho (and usually bigoted) police officer decides to try to enforce the law, at which point some poor sucker is forced to waste all his time and money fighting it on behalf of the rest of the sane world.

You know, calling the hypothetical defendant a “poor sucker” gives me an idea of how we might be able to wipe this oral sex law off the books.

State Republican Senator Rick Jones is the guy who introduced the bill. The bill is actually focused on updating the existing animal cruelty laws in the state, you know, to be more modern, but Jones kept the oral and anal sex language intact because “you’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.” The sad thing is that he might be right, AND he might be wrong that leaving it alone was any better.

Part of the purpose of the updated bill was to create an animal abuser database for the state of Michigan. Shelters would get free access to it, to prevent animals from ending up in the hands of known abusers. That is absolutely a great thing! But now, everyone is still so focused on the fact that the bill doesn’t also delete the old unconstitutional stuff about oral and anal, that it risks not being passed through the house and being made into law.

Jones has suggested another bill that would immediately wipe all unconstitutional laws from Michigan’s books, which makes perfect sense and at the same time makes you think, “Shouldn’t that be something they just do as shit is ruled unconstitutional? Or maybe on a fixed biannual schedule, like how you change the batteries in your smoke detector?”

So, in conclusion: American government is fucked, but this bill is a good one. Now go have all the oral and anal sex you want with other consenting humans.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. My wife needs to get out more.

    I told her ATM was against the law in Michigan and she said “How do people get their money?”

    So after I stopped laughing, I showed her the video and she said “What does this have to do with people getting their money? Do they have to go to the bank?”

    I want to explain it to her, but I can’t stop laughing.

  2. I have a different read on this law. From how I read it, it does not criminalize PiV sex with animals, only “the abominable and detestable crime[s] against nature”. (whatever that is)

    Any type of sex that is “legal” to have with a human is legal to have with an animal.

    If, as you seem to assert, sex other than PiV is “legal” with humans, then this law makes it legal with animals too.

    “Sec. 158. (1) Any A person who COMMITS the
    24 abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind
    25 or with any animal IS guilty of a felony punishable by
    26 imprisonment FOR not more than 15 years, or if
    of the offense, A
    2 FELONY punishable by imprisonment for an
    3 indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the
    4 maximum of which shall be life.”

  3. I’m sure the law has caught up to the existence of animals. We don’t really need more punitive laws for anything that’s existed that long.

    Our justice system is a nightmare. I don’t disagree with having laws against raping animals but I don’t think we should be ratcheting up the penalties, especially as far as life in prison. That is not reasonable.

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