Wed March 6, 2013

Lawmakers Look To Overturn Colorado Adultery Law, But What About Duels And Catapults?

A frontier day law criminalizing adultery is still on the books in Colorado. But a bill before the state Senate aims to overturn it.

The law criminalizing adultery includes a provision that states it’s a crime to contribute to “sexual immorality” by providing a place for unmarried people to have sex. That part of the measure was once used to outlaw frontier-era flophouses.

Democratic lawmakers want to get rid of the law. They say it’s an outdated 19th century holdover that no longer serves a purpose. Republicans say they worry repeal could endanger sex trafficking cases because of the sexual immorality provision.

Just so you know, adultery is illegal in Colorado but carries no criminal penalty. In the last five years, there have been only two convictions.

House Democrats have already passed the measure to erase the crime of adultery in Colorado. Since Democrats also control the Senate, the bill is expected to reach the Governor’s desk.

Last session, a similar bill passed the Democratic-controlled Senate but was voted down by Republicans in the House.

The crime of adultery isn’t the only weird or dated law still on Colorado’s books. Other interesting ones include:

  • Drop your sword or pistol; dueling is a class 1 petty offense in Colorado under state law 18-13-104 [.pdf].
  • Don't hog the party line because it’s required by state law to surrender the use of a telephone's party line if someone needs to make an emergency call.  Also, if you request the use of a party line on the false pretext of an emergency it's a class 1 petty offense under state law 18-9-307 [.pdf].
  • No snowball fights or catapult launches in Aspen under code 15.04.210 [.pdf].
  • It’s risky to let your llama wander in Boulder, because it’s illegal for a llama to graze on any city owned property without permission under code 5-4-7 [.pdf].

Need to brush up on your repeal of the frontier-era law? Check out HB 13-1166.

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