I was watching Showtimes' The Borgias, and I was interested in the psychological reasons that would drive two people to be in an incestuous relationship. Now in The Borgias (Spoiler), Cesare and Lucrettia who are brother and sister (two very intelligent/influential historical characters) enter into an incestuous relationship. One might assume this relationship is developed out of a neglectful relationship from their father, Pope Borgias, or from their mother. In the series this incestuous relationship leads to some of the more interesting conflicts in the story. What interested me is wondering 'why in the United States do we criminalize Incest if the two involved are consenting adults?' Here are some examples of minimum jail time for this crime:
5 years imprisonment in Hawaii
10 years imprisonment in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota
14 years imprisonment in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho
15 years imprisonment in Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia
20 years imprisonment in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Vermont
25 years imprisonment in Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky
Life imprisonment in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
As you can tell the harsher sentences are in the mid-west and the south where religion has influenced criminal law. However, many other Industrialized countries in Europe and Asia do not impose criminal penalties for Incest. Countries like The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Turkey, Israel, etc... do not criminalize incest. Why as a society do we criminalize incest? If it is for medical reasons, then why not criminalize sexual intercourse between people with down syndrome? Something else to consider, if we are to legalize gay marriage, why not legalize incestuous marriages?