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United States: Essays 1952-1992 Chapter Summary & Analysis - "Sex and the Law" (1965) Summary

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"Sex and the Law" (1965) Summary and Analysis

Vidal tackles the age-old question of whether the law should be used to enforce "morality" in sexual behavior by citing John Stuart Mill's On Liberty: "The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over another member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others." So, in the realm of sexual behavior, when is harm done, and when should law proscribe those behaviors? Vidal answers that the constitutional separation of church and state in America has, in practice if not in statute, consigned morality to the religious.

Yet Vidal notes that laws have been passed in America to outlaw alcohol (the Volstead Act), prohibit and punish the publication of "pornographic" literature, and to make certain practices—even between consenting, married adults&mdash...

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This section contains 338 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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United States: Essays 1952-1992 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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