A close friend who is an attorney, but also a Protestant pastor, told me once he believes in the death penalty for adultery. His reasoning? The family unit is the foundation of the nation. We hang people for treason. Shouldn’t we hang them for treason against the basic building block of said nation? Perhaps logical, if a tad over the top.

Is adultery illegal in some places? It used to be in the US Army under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You may remember the trouble General David Petraeus got into over this several years ago. That regulation was downgraded after relatively recent changes in the UCMJ. Such things tend to fall under the general umbrella of sexual harassment these days.

Thus, feelings run high on this matter. On one hand, it is a purely personal matter. On the other, should the law take it into account during a legal proceeding like a divorce, especially if one side is a clearly aggrieved party? North Carolina is trying to decide that.

FNC: “North Carolina lawmakers killed a bill this week that would have repealed a more-than-a-century-old law that allows people to sue their spouse’s lover for ‘alienation of affection,’ according to reports. Members of the House judiciary committee split 4-4 Wednesday on whether to advance the bill, with some of those in favor of keeping it arguing its repeal would be ‘legalizing adultery,’ according to the News & Observer in Raleigh. North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that have similar laws.”

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State Rep. Wesley Harris, a Democrat, contended the law was both “archaic and antiquated. This was started in the 1700s in Great Britain when women were still treated as property of their husbands.” So did a lot of other things we still revere Mr. Harris. Does a past time and a foreign place render something inherently suspect?

Jere Royall, director of community impact and counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, disagrees. “We believe that the state’s policy should remain clear – that marriages are worth protecting … and that a third party who has committed adultery will be held accountable and liable for their actions.” Should the state interfere that closely in intimate relationships?

In the hearing, Rep. Jon Hardister, a Republican, said, “I want to preserve marriages as much as the next person, but it is between two spouses.” Not a bad view at all.