Utah repeals misdemeanor fornication law, legalizing sex outside of marriage

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature is making sex outside of marriage legal.

In a bill cleaning up Utah’s criminal code, lawmakers repealed the misdemeanor crime of fornication. The House passed Senate Bill 43 on a 41-32 vote. It previously passed the Utah State Senate and now goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature or veto.

The legislature previously passed a bill removing adultery and sodomy among consenting adults as crimes in Utah. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said court rulings have found the laws are unenforceable and it was time to remove them from the books.

The bill wasn’t popular with some of the more conservative members of the Utah House of Representatives.

“What is legally is often far below what is morally right,” Rep. Kevin Stratton, R-Orem, said. “And I recognize our laws are not strong enough to rule [an] immoral people.”

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