Some states have archaic laws on the books, such as one that has produced an eye-popping court settlement that has my head spinning.
North Carolina is one of a few states that has a law called “alienation of affection” on the books. This story was reported this morning.
It goes like this: A married began having an affair with a man. Her estranged husband was so outraged that he filed a lawsuit under the alienation of affection statute.
Then the married man, the guy his wife jilted, won a settlement totaling nearly $9 million.
North Carolina is one of just six states that have such a law. I believe the law needs to go. It needs to be scuttled along with other statutes, such as, say, states’ anti-sodomy laws that essentially prohibit gay men from having intimate relations in the privacy of their own bedroom.
What the alienation of affection law implies is that wives are the “property” of their husbands, that they are unable to make decisions on their own. I wasn’t aware, for example, that marital infidelity was against the law. Men and women commit these acts damn near every hour of every day.
Am I condoning it? Of course not.
However, I do not condone the state intruding in the private business of married couples who grappling with life-changing decisions and actions.
When I heard that only six U.S. states have such a law on the books, I feared Texas was one of them. It isn’t.
Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court might eventually get to decide this matter on appeal, which the wife’s paramour in the North Carolina case has vowed to pursue.