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Incest is So Confusing

mandymoore.jpgBack in my home state of Arkansas, where Arkansas’s reputation for incest is infamous, there’s now a new concern for stepparents. Up in Ohio, the state supreme court (in a case that looks to be headed to the Supremes) ruled in a 6-1 decision that anti-incest laws also apply to stepparents, even if both the stepparent and the stepchild are of the age of majority and consent to the sex.

The case itself involves a local 44-year-old sheriff who had consensual sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter, after which he was convicted of incest and sentenced to 120 days in prison and designated a sexual offender.

The sheriff appealed, arguing that the state could not bar consenting, non-blood related adults from having sex, further asserting that the law was only designed to protect minor children from abusive parents. The Ohio supreme court disagreed, however, concluding that the law was more than just a means to protect minor children — it also had a moral component, designed to “protect the family unit more broadly.”

The case does beg the question: Is it okay for consenting, adult step-siblings to have sexual intercourse? I wonder this not just because of Flowers in the Attic, but because of a family film I reviewed a month or so ago, called Because I Said So, which I found deeply unsettling, if only because the two principals, (Mandy Moore and Gabriel Macht) hook up and start a relationship. Later, their single parents also get married, making Mandy and Gabriel step-siblings who — presumably — still live happily ever after. The issue of step-incest, however, was never raised. Are step-siblings allowed to marry? I would imagine there are no laws prohibiting a guys’ father and mother-in-law from marrying, but if they do so after the son and his wife are already married, does that retroactively convert the married couple into incestual step-siblings? Or am I just reading too much into a bad Diane Keaton flick?

| Comments (3)


The issue was also sort of raised with Clueless years ago - only in that case it was ex-step-siblings...

No, your pointing out a flaw in the ruling.

Oui Vey! I'm in real hot water now.