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Florida's Bestiality Law May Have Accidentally Outlawed Sex Entirely
May 13, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

If you have had sex in Florida in the last week, technically, you broke the law. Due to some unfortunate wording, Florida's new bestiality law technically outlawed sex between two animals.

"An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date."
posted by Leisure_Muffin (88 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looks like I got out of there just in time!
posted by Krazor at 6:03 PM on May 13, 2011


Your honor, I present before the court the Mammalian clause of 1828.
posted by clavdivs at 6:06 PM on May 13, 2011


I would have had no problem with the first interpretation of the law if it'd stopped people in South Florida from breeding.
posted by gman at 6:07 PM on May 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


I know this is an (admittedly funny) punch-line and all of that, but I still have students who object when I refer to non-human animals as, uh, non-human animals. This is usually in the context of debates over our ethical obligations (if any) to said non-human animals, but I find the fury that is released when I gently (and not out of deliberate provocation or some such foolish thing) refer to non-human animals as such to be weirdly excessive.

I suspect there is something like a reflexive anti-naturalism, anti-Darwinian, anti-We-May-Not-Happen-To-Be-The-Divinely-Ordained-Center-of-All-Creation bias(es) at work here, but I dunno.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Floridians have long known that illegal sex is the bet sex.

I suspect/hope, anyway.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:10 PM on May 13, 2011


Yet another awesome law that I haven't broken recently.

Sigh.
posted by Think_Long at 6:12 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually the law defines persons. Funny though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:15 PM on May 13, 2011


Speaking of fun new legal ideas: State Rep. Tishaura Jones, a St. Louis Democrat, offered an amendment to the bill that said "all male children shall have a vasectomy before the age of twelve."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:16 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's too hot there to have sex, this law is useless.
posted by tomswift at 6:16 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


/plays Closer by NIN.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


TAKE ME TO PRISON
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 6:16 PM on May 13, 2011


"An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date."

So I'm clear if I have sex in Florida with plants or fungi? Sentient fungi, however, would themselves be in breach of the law?
posted by Anything at 6:20 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh shit, I gotta call my brother! He has a girlfriend. They live together.

And they sex each other up!
posted by Splunge at 6:20 PM on May 13, 2011


The text of the law, apparently. Doesn't define person or (more relevantly) define animal.


Reminds me of when Texas outlawed all marriage.
posted by hattifattener at 6:20 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the article linked in the posted article: "The proposal targets only those who derived or helped others derive "sexual gratification" from an animal. The amendment specified that conventional dog judging contests and animal husbandry practices are permissible."

What is going on in conventional dog judging contests?
posted by Houstonian at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2011 [24 favorites]


Or so I have assumed. Eeew.
posted by Splunge at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Speaking of fun new legal ideas: State Rep. Tishaura Jones, a St. Louis Democrat, offered an amendment to the bill that said "all male children shall have a vasectomy before the age of twelve."

To be fair, it was to show how a majority of anti abortion legislation is about penalizing women for having sex. Viagra for men? Healthcare must cover it. Birth control for women? Nope.

I grimaced at this quote:

Jones, whose pro-choice views are tinged with her own decision to keep an unplanned pregnancy, said it was not a genuine attempt to change the language of the bill.

Really? The whole point of Pro-Choice is not "unplanned pregnancies must be aborted" its that each individual should have access to make decision on their own. In fact, claiming it has tinged her views is at best poor reporting, and at worst a deliberate attempt to dismiss her political stances.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:25 PM on May 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


No, Florida's Bestiality Law Will Not Outlaw Human Sex

In this chapter, and in every law of the state relating to or in any way affecting animals, the word "animal" shall be held to include every living dumb creature.

"Dumb creature" is a rather crude way of putting it, but that excludes humans, but we're glad some traffic-hungry websites got a little bit of traffic out of this none story.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have had no problem with the first interpretation of the law if it'd stopped people in South Florida from breeding.

That would probably fall under "normal husbandry practices" unfortunately.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it was to show how a majority of anti abortion legislation is about penalizing women for having sex.

Well duh, we aren't dumb creatures here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2011


What about fucking parrots?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:28 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit fucking dogs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on May 13, 2011 [19 favorites]


So wait...we could have torture outlawed on the basis of "cruelty to animals"?
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is why I only have sex with fungi.
posted by The Whelk at 6:30 PM on May 13, 2011


You mean it's now illegal for Floridians to procreate? THANK YOU OBAMA
posted by weezy at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Dumb creature" is a rather crude way of putting it, but that excludes human

I think I had a few turns in college that would have included me in the "dumb creature" catalog.
posted by The Whelk at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"In this chapter, and in every law of the state relating to or in any way affecting animals, the word "animal" shall be held to include every living dumb creature."

So, it's just the Republicans that can't do it?
posted by tomswift at 6:34 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whew! Dodged the bullet on that one.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:36 PM on May 13, 2011


I would have fit right in.
posted by COBRA! at 6:38 PM on May 13, 2011


In this chapter, and in every law of the state relating to or in any way affecting animals, the word "animal" shall be held to include every living dumb creature.

When can I start turning people in? Got a whole list of dumb creatures right here.
posted by contessa at 6:42 PM on May 13, 2011


" "Dumb creature" is a rather crude way of putting it, but that excludes humans,"

Not in Florida.
posted by oddman at 6:44 PM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


dunkadunc: "What about fucking parrots?"

Please leave the parrots alone. They have their own problems.
posted by Splunge at 6:49 PM on May 13, 2011


but I find the fury that is released when I gently (and not out of deliberate provocation or some such foolish thing) refer to non-human animals as such to be weirdly excessive.

Uh, you talk like -- did you mean furry? 'Cause last thing you should do is release them fuckers. Lock 'em and their damn fursuits up, and throw away the key. Freaks!
posted by orthogonality at 6:53 PM on May 13, 2011


Is a turtle an animal?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


providing an effective date.

*sigh* I haven't been on an effective date for a long time.
posted by aubilenon at 7:06 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm an animal!
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2011


....and veterinary practices

I declare that from here on out, all sexy time activities in our home will be called "going to the vet."
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 7:30 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, no. This is not true.

Why idiot journalists insist on writing this kind of crap i will never know.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:32 PM on May 13, 2011


"Dumb creature" is a rather crude way of putting it, but that excludes humans"
I think the "dumb creature" formulation might be from common law, because it's very common. Florida criminal statutes incorporate the common law.

If this is right, the anti-bestiality statute isn't particularly silly at all.
posted by planet at 7:33 PM on May 13, 2011


The fuss over this seemed pretty silly to me; humans are animals in the scientific sense, but where a distinction is drawn between 'person' and 'animal' then the inference is obvious and should not to be stated explicitly. Overly detailed definition that goes past the point of redundancy is a real problem in the legal system; it makes the law harder for the average person to study, understand, and remember. That contributes to a widespread perception that the laws are written to be traps for the unwary rather than as an expression of the public consensus. Simpler is better, in general, and there is a legal concept of 'plain meaning' which applies to undefined terms: if a word or phrase is widely understood to have a certain meaning, which can be demonstrated by referring to standard dictionaries or well-known reference works, then that's the meaning that should be assumed. The alternative means defining every single word in a piece of legislation, including words like 'definition', 'law', 'word', 'dictionary'....at some point you have to decide between requiring basic linguistic and cultural literacy or go into an infinitely recursive philosophical problem.

Besides, it seems like it would have been quite all right to engage in any activities for the purpose of providing pleasure to the animal, though - one would just have to persuade the court that one's acts were carried out to satisfy feelings of compassion rather than passion. Indeed, if one found oneself enjoying the activity that would be OK too, as long as it was undertaken in a spirit of dutiful obligation. I'm sort of hoping that they don't fix that part of the statute, since sooner or later this is going to be offered as a defense and I anticipate having an even better laugh about it when it is.

Having said that, laws like this do throw up some tricky situations. This statute already makes an exception for animal breeders who might otherwise be criminalized. But my understanding is that some animals do try to make sexual contact with humans; the stereotypical one being the dog humping someone's leg. I've never had a dog and know little about them, but I assume the jokes must have some basis in fact?
posted by anigbrowl at 7:36 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


anigbrowl: "my understanding is that some animals do try to make sexual contact with humans; the stereotypical one being the dog humping someone's leg."

And why anyone would willingly allow one of these animals to live in their house is beyond me.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:38 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: Single-link Huffington Post? Really?

There ought to be some code in the "Make a Post" page that checks for HuffPo articles and asks you "Are you realy sure you want to link to these hacks?".
posted by dunkadunc at 7:41 PM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


So everyone in Florida is stupid now? Right. (Adds Florida to the long list of places whose inhabitants can be freely insulted) Thanks.
posted by joannemullen at 7:49 PM on May 13, 2011


If it helps, I only have one place on that list. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a superset.
posted by Errant at 7:56 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Add this to my rap sheet.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:59 PM on May 13, 2011


ATTN OLD PEOPLE

DO NOT PANIC

IT IS NOW LEGAL TO RESUME FUCKING
posted by indubitable at 8:11 PM on May 13, 2011


Yeah, this is weak Farksauce, IMO.
posted by Gator at 8:14 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to fuck you like an animal.

What? Oh okay. How about we listen to NIN instead?
posted by Decani at 8:14 PM on May 13, 2011


I hear it's also illegal to have sex with animals on a plane. That's fine with me--I'll just continue having sex IN the plane.
posted by mullacc at 8:31 PM on May 13, 2011


So what I'm getting is ...

Mutes can't have sex?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:32 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


In this chapter, and in every law of the state relating to or in any way affecting animals, the word "animal" shall be held to include every living dumb creature.

So dead animals are still fair game then? What do we even call that? Zoonecrophilia?

And some animals are clearly more intelligent than the majority of the Florida state legislature based on recent events, so I'd be careful exactly who we're calling "dumb" here.
posted by zachlipton at 8:34 PM on May 13, 2011


Mutes can't have sex?

not oral sex.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Humans might technically be animals but I'd prefer it if we weren't referred to that way. We need to draw a distinction.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:58 PM on May 13, 2011


Actually, pretty sure that this law is unconstitutional and unenforceable (as it comes to human on human sex) under the 2003 SCotUS ruling Lawrence v Texas.

You're welcome straight people.
posted by Garm at 9:03 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only thing I fucked this week was up, so silver lining
posted by Camofrog at 9:09 PM on May 13, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: Humans might technically be animals but I'd prefer it if we weren't referred to that way. We need to draw a distinction.

I too take issue with lumping humans in with animals who actually should be procreating.
posted by gman at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2011


Mutes can't have sex?

Dirty talk is now obligatory.
posted by Knappster at 9:22 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, what's with the "people in Florida are stupid" jokes? Do we really need to go there?
posted by jcreigh at 9:27 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


We need to draw a distinction.

Why? We're made of the same stuff, we live on the same planet, we rely on the same substances to keep us alive... The only thing which separates us from the animals is our ability to effectively pass detailed information amongst ourselves and preserve information beyond the lifespan of the individual for the use of later generations. That's about it. We aren't even the only ones with thumbs or names for ourselves.
posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"The only thing which separates us from the animals is our ability to effectively pass detailed information amongst ourselves and preserve information beyond the lifespan of the individual for the use of later generations."

I believe dolphins and whales do this too, actually. But they haven't learned to write yet*, so we still have something to feel special about.

*Then again, on the internet, no one knows you're a dolphin.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:41 PM on May 13, 2011


"Hmm, what's with the "people in Florida are stupid" jokes? Do we really need to go there?"

11/7/00 NEVER FORGET
posted by Jacqueline at 9:43 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hmm, what's with the "people in Florida are stupid" jokes? Do we really need to go there?

Perhaps a better question is: Can we go there often enough?
posted by contessa at 9:49 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about animal parts?

Like, say, a friend wanted to "go to the vet" with his hand.

In Florida.

Is that okay?
posted by Samizdata at 9:54 PM on May 13, 2011


Well, if husbandry is legal, then it's only safe sex that was outlawed.
posted by inturnaround at 9:55 PM on May 13, 2011


Actually the law defines persons.

What's the definition?
posted by John Cohen at 10:44 PM on May 13, 2011


Viagra for men? Healthcare must cover it. Birth control for women? Nope.

Viagra is not just "for men," nor is birth control just "for women."
posted by John Cohen at 10:46 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like the fact that every time I turn on a light, I'm contributing to sending Florida to the bottom of the ocean.
posted by Goofyy at 10:52 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals.
posted by NoraReed at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Swedish minister of agriculture discussing the finer points of bestiality legislation always cracks me the hell up.
posted by Iteki at 12:12 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sentient fungi, however, would themselves be in breach of the law?

You keep yr dick outta Swamp Thing an we won't have any problems.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:25 AM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Viagra is not just "for men," nor is birth control just "for women."

While viagra and other drugs have been approved for women, I believe besides sterilization and condoms, there aren't any other birth control methods available for men.

I believe the real point was that there is no problem passing legislation that would force decisions for women in regards to personal health issues (ie, trying to defund Planned Parenthood, etc), but it is laughable when anything to do with the male reproduction system is offered as a political measure.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:40 AM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


John Cohen may have (I am not sure) been referring to either the way that birth control/boner pill options effect both partners. Or possibly about trans people. Or boys and girls. I am not sure. But there are many options!
posted by NoraReed at 2:33 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most of it comes down to dicks being over-represented in Congress.
posted by ryanrs at 3:05 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh shit, I gotta call my brother! He has a girlfriend. They live together.

I stopped reading after the first sentence...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:46 AM on May 14, 2011


Maybe this will slow down the propagation of furries.
posted by tar0tgr1 at 4:31 AM on May 14, 2011


The supposed "human-animal divide" is a pretty big thing thing to a lot of Christians. Animals don't have souls, but humans do, God holds humans to a higher standard, etc. Also, if humans aren't animals, there is no chance evolution could be true, because how could humans come from a different kingdom? That'd be like a unicellular organism evolving into a multicellular organism, and that's patently absurd!
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:11 AM on May 14, 2011


Dumb as in low intelligence, or dumb as in unable to speak? As we have both types of humans.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:13 AM on May 14, 2011


The supposed "human-animal divide" is a pretty big thing thing to a lot of fundamentalist or conservative Christians.

FTFY.
posted by jeanmari at 5:35 AM on May 14, 2011


jcreigh: Hmm, what's with the "people in Florida are stupid" jokes? Do we really need to go there?

Weird, I would've assumed the prevailing sentiment expressed in this thread would have been enough to deter you from even thinking about entering the state.
posted by gman at 6:08 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Floridians
Love
Animals
posted by telstar at 6:48 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's too hot there to have sex, this law is useless.


I believe the phrase you're looking for is "too hot to do the nasty."
posted by entropone at 8:06 AM on May 14, 2011


"So dead animals are still fair game then? What do we even call that? Zoonecrophilia?"

Well, now you're just beating off a dead horse.
posted by kyrademon at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


No seriously, what about the turtle? I bought lettuce.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


So some farmboy could reply with "Your honor, I was just judging conformity of that cow's vagina"?
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 9:11 AM on May 14, 2011


Hmm, what's with the "people in Florida are stupid" jokes? Do we really need to go there?

They mean the other people in Florida. You're cool.
posted by empath at 12:24 PM on May 14, 2011


Dumb animals? Silly humans. Animals live in a state of divine perfection, having never fallen from grace. There's a bird outside my window just now, singing thanks for the desperately needed rain. Why would God note the falling of every sparrow, if they had no place in the Divine Order?
posted by Goofyy at 11:06 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear it's also illegal to have sex with animals on a plane.

It's also illegal on high-speed trains.

Wait. Never mind...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:32 PM on May 15, 2011


This is kind of a silly much-ado-about nothing thing here, but when I was working as a legal code supplement editor a few years back, I did in fact come across a municipal ordinance that genuinely seemed to make this kind of unintentional error: The text, as written, imposed municipal-level penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana--with no additional clarification. So if you possessed none, you ran afoul of the literal word of the law. This particular account's code was always riddled with typographical and basic grammatical errors, so the language was pretty clearly not very well thought through, and obviously, the law wouldn't have been enforced that way, but still. The sausage making process of law is a pretty ugly, nasty business, and you never know what kind of filler and gristle you'll end up with in the finished product. (I know that especially to be true at the county and municipal levels.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:05 AM on May 16, 2011


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