Letters | Marriage and Society

Crime of adultery matters because marriage binds our social fabric

Re “Mass. among 23 states where adultery is a crime, but rarely prosecuted” (Page A13, Nov. 15): Adultery laws are constitutional, and should remain so, because they differ from laws prohibiting consensual sexual activity between adults in one critical respect: They regulate a public contract entered into between individuals and the Commonwealth, not private sexual proclivities.

I am immensely proud that my home state of Massachusetts was the first in the union to recognize marriage equality. The very reason why marriage has been the most visible vehicle for the advancement of gay rights in America is that it remains the preeminent institution governing familial relationships and a central part of our social fabric. It is precisely because marriage is a public institution — imbued with the support of the community and formalized by the Great Seal of the Commonwealth — that a violation of its core principle of fidelity is a public offense.

There may come a day when society no longer views fidelity as part and parcel of the marriage contract. But until then, the Commonwealth and its sister states are well within their rights to continue to demand, under force of law, adherence to the marriage contract.

Andrew L. Kalloch

Brooklyn, N.Y.