State Adultery Laws
- Colorado 18-6-501 - Adultery. "Any sexual intercourse by a married
person other than with that person's spouse is adultery, which is prohibited."
- California "Sexual intercourse by a married woman with a man other
than her husband [is] regarded as an offense against public morals, not merely as a breach
of the obligation of marriage" West's California Digest.
- Washington, DC http://laws.findlaw.com/DC/975333a.html &
if the crime of adultery with which he was charged was included in the crime of
unlawful cohabitation for which he was convicted and punished, that question is now to be
considered," 131 U.S., at 185 (emphasis added)), from its legal analysis, id., at
186-189, and from its repeated observations that cohabitation required proof of adultery,
id., at 187, 189.
- DOD http://laws.findlaw.com/9th/2/909/375.html
Adultery is illegal in many states; the Department Defense does not subject
the class of adulterers automatically to expanded security procedures.
- Georgia http://laws.findlaw.com/US/478/186.html
State might conclude that adultery is likely to injure third persons, in
particular, spouses and children of persons who engage in extramarital affairs. With
respect to incest, a court might well agree with respondent that the nature of familial
relationships renders true consent to incestuous activity sufficiently problematical that
a blanket prohibition of such activity [478
U.S. 186, 210] is warranted. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 21-22. & http://laws.findlaw.com/US/292/216.html Section
966 (D.C. Code 1929, T. 14, 63) provides: 'A divorce from the bond of marriage
may be granted only where one of the parties has committed adultery during the marriage:
Provided, That in such case the [292 U.S. 216, 222] innocent party only may remarry, but
nothing herein contained shall prevent the remarriage of the divorced parties to each
other. ...' AND ... a statute of the [292 U.S. 216, 226] District provides for
forfeiture of dower in case of the wife's adultery during marriage, none denies dower to a
widow because she had been guilty of adultery prior to the marriage with her late
- Utah (Adultery is a 3 year prison sentence). http://laws.findlaw.com/US/131/176.html That
whoever commits adultery shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not
exceeding three years; and, when the act is committed between a married woman and a man
who is unmarried, both parties to such act shall be deemed guilty of adultery; and when
such act is committed between a married man and a woman who is unmarried, the man shall be
deemed guilty of adultery.' 24 St. 635. said defendant, Hans Nielsen, having
been duly convicted in this court of the crime of adultery, it is therefore ordered,
adjudged, and decreed that the said Hans Nielsen be imprisoned in the penitentiary of the
territory of Utah, at the county of Salt Lake, for the term of one hundred and twenty-five
The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian
faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that
fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as
honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and
covetousness. . . .
- South Dakota (Adultery laws don't apply to indians) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/241/602.html This
is a prosecution for adultery committed on one of the Sioux Indian Reservations in the
state of South Dakota. Both participants in the act were Indians belonging to that
reservation. The statute upon which the prosecution is founded was originally adopted as
part of the act of March 3, 1887 (chap. 397, 24 Stat. at L. 635), and is now 316 of the
Penal Code [35 Stat. at L. 1149, chap. 321, Comp. Stat. 1913, 10,489]. The section makes
no mention of Indians, and the question for decision is whether it embraces adultery
committed by one Indian with another Indian, on an Indian reservation. The district court
answered the question in the negative.
- Alabama (Adulterers cannot hold public office) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/106/583.html Section
4184 of the Code of Alabama provides that 'if any man and woman live together in adultery
or fornication, each of them must, on the first conviction of the offense, be fined not
less than $100, and may also be imprisoned in the county jail or sentenced to hard labor
for the county for not more than six months. On the second conviction for the offense,
with the same person, the offender must be fined not less than $300, and may be imprisoned
in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for the county, for not more than 12
months; and for a third or any subsequent conviction with the same person, must be
imprisoned in the penitentiary or sentenced to hard labor for the county for two
years." and http://laws.findlaw.com/US/471/222.html
The predecessor to 182 was Art. VIII, 3, of the Alabama Constitution of 1875,
which denied persons "convicted of treason, embezzlement of public funds, malfeasance
in office, larceny, bribery, or other crime punishable by imprisonment in the
penitentiary" the right to register, vote or hold public office. These offenses were
largely, if not entirely, felonies. The drafters of 182, which was adopted by the 1901
convention, expanded the list of enumerated crimes substantially to include the following:
"treason, murder, arson, embezzlement, malfeasance in office, larceny, receiving
stolen property, obtaining property or money under false pretenses, perjury, subornation
of perjury, robbery, assault with intent to rob, burglary, forgery, bribery, assault and
battery on the wife, bigamy, living in adultery, sodomy, incest, rape, miscegenation,
[and] crime against nature."
- Oklahoma (Adultery is a state law) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/241/582.html Adultery
is an offense against the marriage relation, and belongs to the class of subjects which
each state controls in its own way. It is a punishable offense only where the common or
statute law of the state makes it such; and where punishable, it is cognizable only in the
courts of the state.
- New York (Motion picture depicting adultery as desirable denied
license) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/360/684.html Under provisions of
the New York Education Law which were construed by the Court of Appeals of New York as
requiring the denial of a license to show a motion picture when "its subject matter
is adultery presented as being right and desirable for certain people under certain
- Florida (Adultery is a 2 year prison sentence)
challenged statute is a part of chapter 798 entitled "Adultery and
Fornication."1 Section 798.01 forbids living in adultery and 798.02
proscribes lewd cohabitation. Both sections are of general application, both require proof
of intercourse to sustain a conviction, and both authorize imprisonment up to two years.2
Section 798.03, [379 U.S. 184, 186] also of general application, proscribes fornication3
and authorizes a three-month jail sentence. http://laws.findlaw.com/US/424/448.html (Section
61.08, Florida Statutes), a wife found guilty of adultery could not be awarded
- Pennsylvania http://laws.findlaw.com/US/352/1.html Mazzei
pleaded guilty to charges of adultery and bastardy in a Pennsylvania state court. (Adultery
law repealed in Pennsylvania) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/439/1052.html Pennsylvania
repealed its law prohibiting adultery and fornication in 1972. 1972 Pa.Laws, Act No. 334,
- New York http://laws.findlaw.com/US/160/531.html wherein
she alleged that the defend- [160 U.S. 531, 533] ant, whose legal residence was
still in the city of Elizabeth, had committed adultery with several persons on different
occasions in the city of New York,
- South Carolina http://laws.findlaw.com/US/372/53.html respondent filed his
answer to the complaint neither admitting nor denying the allegations of adultery
- West Virginia http://laws.findlaw.com/US/232/619.html The
plaintiff (the defendant in error) at that time was the wife of a citizen of West
Virginia, but, in consequence of his adultery, as she alleged, had separated from him and
had gone to Virginia.
- New York http://laws.findlaw.com/US/181/175.html against Frederick A.
Bell, for a divorce from the bond of matrimony, for his adultery at Buffalo, in the county
of Erie, in April and May, 1890, and for alimony. [181 U.S. 175, 176]
- Illinois (Adultery is a 5 year prison sentence) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/236/140.html Congress
had no power to punish immorality, and certainly did not intend by this act of June 25,
1910 (36 Stat. at L. 825, chap. 395, Comp. Stat. 1913, 8812), to make fornication or
adultery, which was a state misdemeanor, a Federal felony, punishable able by $5,000 fine
and five years' imprisonment. http://laws.findlaw.com/7th/952053.html
Their unmarried parents are "fornicators"; some are adulterers;
fornication and adultery remain on the books of many states as crimes.
- Hawaii (Husband holds property of wife who commits adultery for rest of her
life) http://laws.findlaw.com/US/188/291.html 'That
under and by virtue of the Hawaiian law in force at the time said decree of divorce was
granted and now in froce, it is provided: 'When a divorce is decreed for the adultery or
other offense amounting thereto, of the wife, the husband shall hold her personal estate
forever, and he shall hold her real estate so long as they shall live; and if he shall
survive her, and there shall be issue of the marriage born alive, he shall hold her real
estate for the term of his own life, as a tenant by the curtsey; provided that the court
may make such reasonable provision for the divorced wife out of any real estate that may
have belonged to her, as it may deem proper.'
- Federal Law Against Adultery http://laws.findlaw.com/US/327/711.html sections
of the Federal Criminal Code apply to the reservation, including not only the Assimilative
Crimes Act, but also those making penal the offenses of rape, 4 assault with intent to
[327 U.S. 711, 714] commit rape,5 having carnal knowledge of a girl,6 adultery7 and
fornication. 8 years; ... and when such act is
committed between a married man and a woman who is
unmarried, the man shall be deemed guilty of adultery.' Criminal
Code, 316, 35 Stat. 1149, 18 U.S.C. 516, 18 U.S.C.A.
516. [Footnote 8] 'If any unmarried man or woman commits fornication, each
shall be fined not more than $100, or imprisoned not more than six months.' Criminal Code,
318, 35 Stat. 1149, 18 U.S.C. 518, 18 U.S.C.A. 518. Adultery: (1887) 24 Stat.
635, in connection with the amendment of bigamy statutes; (1909) 35 Stat.
- Arizona http://laws.findlaw.com/US/327/711.html
- 1975 Case http://laws.findlaw.com/US/420/770.html
"When to the idea of an offense plurality of agents is logically
necessary, conspiracy, which assumes the voluntary accession of a person to a crime of
such a character that it is aggravated by a plurality of agents, cannot be maintained. . .
. In other words, when the law says, `a combination between two persons to effect a
particular end shall be called, if the end be effected, by a certain name,' it is not
lawful for the prosecution to call it by some other name; and when the law says, such an
offense - e. g., adultery - shall have a certain punishment, it is not lawful for the
prosecution to evade this limitation by indicting the offense as conspiracy." 2 F.
Wharton, Criminal Law 1604, p. 1862 (12th ed. 1932).5 [420 U.S. 770, 774] The Rule has been
applied by numerous courts, state and federal alike.
- Wyoming http://laws.findlaw.com/US/161/65.html Sections
1 and 2 relate to testimony in prosecutions for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful
cohabitation. Sections 3-5 define and punish the offenses of adultery, incest, and
- Minnesota http://laws.findlaw.com/US/296/1.html Mason's
Minnesota Statutes 1927, 8601-8604. The court is empowered upon divorce for any cause,
except that of the wife's adultery, to decree to the wife 'such part of the personal and
real estate of the husband, not exceeding in value one-third thereof, as it deems just and
reasonable, having regard to the ability of the husband, the character and situation of
the parties, and all other circumstances of the case.'
- Ohio http://laws.findlaw.com/US/432/161.html
In Nielsen, conviction for adultery required proof that the defendant had
sexual intercourse with one woman while married to another.
- Puerto Rico http://laws.findlaw.com/US/204/64.html It
was, moreover, specially alleged that, as the divorce had been decreed against the wife on
account of her adultery, she had forfeited all her interest in the community if any
community property existed. & the Code of 1889 provided that, in case of a divorce for
adultery, the guilty spouse should forfeit or lose, not his or her interest in the
community, but 'all that may have been given or promised him or her by the innocent one,
or by any other person, in consideration for the latter.'
- Spain http://laws.findlaw.com/US/204/64.html
by the law of Spain, prior to the adoption of the Spanish Civil Code, the wife against
whom a judgment of divorce for adultery was decreed forfeited all right to her share in
the community existing between herself and husband.
- Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) http://laws.findlaw.com/9th/3/34/1469.html
Prohibited conduct includes adultery, indecent assault, wrongful co-habitation,
fraternization, indecent language, indecent acts with another, pandering and prostitution,
sodomy and bigamy. Articles 120, 125, 134, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C.
920, 925, 934 (Supp. 1994).