Columbia University Professor David Epstein was arrested last week and charged with having “consensual” sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. Epstein’s lawyer, Matthew Galluzzo, tells ABCNews.com:
“Academically, we are obviously all morally opposed to incest and rightfully so. At the same time, there is an argument to be made in the Swiss case to let go what goes on privately in bedrooms.”
Galluzzo goes on to say,
“It’s OK for homosexuals to do whatever they want in their own home…How is this so different? We have to figure out why some behavior is tolerated and some is not.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Galuzzo also questions whether “prosecuting incest was ‘intellectually consistent’ with the repeal of anti-sodomy laws that resulted from Lawrence v. Texas in 2003″ and asserts that “what goes on between consenting adults in private should not be legislated” because the bedroom “is not the proper domain of our law.”
ABC News is now crowdsourcing on Facebook, “should incest between consenting adults be legal?”
While there will surely be much blogosphere debate about the content of this question, I find myself drawn to some larger issues this case raises. Specifically, I wonder where and how societal norms are created and enforced when there is no “true north” by which to navigate? I am also interested in Galluzzo’s distinction between being “academically morally opposed” to incest and noting that “an argument can be made” for it? Does this mean that legal arguments do/should always trump morality?
Love to hear your thoughts on this…