Students Lobby To Legalize Adult Sex

The Civil Liberties Union of Harvard yesterday began efforts to garner student support for a bill that would legalize sex between unmarried adults in the state of Massachusetts.

Group members in front of Widened Library urged students to sign copies of a letter addressed to Gov. William F. Weld '66 that asks the governor to repeal long-standing laws governing sexual behavior.

Under current state laws, sex between unmarried adults is a crime punishable by a $30 fine and three months in jail. Those committing adultery can be fined $500 and given a three-year jail term.

A person convicted of sodomy can be given a 20-year prison sentence, according to these laws.

Civil Liberties Union President Jolene A. Silversmith '94 said the organization has two major concerns about the current laws--one, that they are occasionally enforced, resulting in jail fines and fees, and two, that they represent a serious in fringement of individual rights.


Silversmith said the movement to repeal the current legislation began in the gay community after the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to enforce such laws.

"The Supreme Court ruled that people have no right to engage in homosexualbehavior," Silversmith said. "They said that lawsprohibiting nonregular sexual acts are valid."

Silversmith said he views this decision ashypocritical in the face of recent legislationprohibiting discrimination against homosexuals.

The movement to repeal the laws has gainedconsiderable support from the heterosexualcommunity, he said.

"The major concern is that all sex betweenunmarried males and females is illegal," he said."That means almost any sexual behavior on theHarvard campus is illegal."

According to Silversmith, the bill is endorsedby many Democrats, but lacks Republican support.Weld's backing could help move it through thestate legislature.

Silversmith said almost 400 students signed theletters yesterday.

Sean S. McLaughlin '95 was one student who tookpen in hand to protest the laws.

McLaughlin, who called the law "silly," said ,"I don't see how they're actually going to enforceit. I wasn't event aware it was on the books."

"I've never been caught," he added