X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 11 14:59:59 UTC 2007

At 2:44 PM +0000 9/11/07, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
>One would think this would have applied to sodomy laws as well, but
>I know of at least 2 cases of consentual sex in which the man was
>found guilty and the woman was not.
>Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

But as President Clinton taught us, "have sex with"--in at least one
sodomy-relevant context--is not a symmetric predicate even if "marry"
is.  After all, he explained, Monica Lewinsky had sex with him, but
not vice versa.  (Not to mention the case of necrophilia.)


>-----Original Message-----
>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Date:         Mon, 10 Sep 2007 18:21:15
>Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?
>At 9/10/2007 03:21 PM, John Baker wrote:
>>The point is, if it's mutual, you don't have to tell who is the
>>marrier and who is the marriee.  I suppose that the Commonwealth of
>>Virginia would have contrasted their statute to a hypothetical statute
>>that imposed penalties upon a black person who entered into marriage
>>with a white person, but not upon the white spouse.
>I suspect this is the point in Virginia, at least.  But there the
>penalties were on the white marrying the black.  (Penalties on the
>slave were probably pointless:  he or she had no property to pay a
>fine; the term of servitude could not be extended beyond life; and
>corporal punishment might adversely affect the property rights of the
>slave's owner.)  Happening to have in my hand at the moment A. Leon
>Higginbotham Jr.'s _In the Matter of Color: Race and the American
>Legal Process -- The Colonial Period_ (1978), I find him writing:
>"The 1705 prohibition against interracial marriage was reenacted in
>1792; both statutes imposed a penalty of six months' imprisonment on
>whites, but curiously at that time no imprisonment penalty was
>imposed on blacks in the statutes.  In 1848 the imprisonment for
>whites marrying blacks was increased to twelve months.  It was not
>until 1932, when the statute was amended, that imprisonment was
>imposed on _both_ [emphasis in original] blacks and whites for
>intermarrying, and in 1932 the penalty was increased to confinement
>in the "penitentiary for from one to five years."  [page 46]
>(Higginbotham also discusses Loving v. Virginia.)
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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