WASHINGTON — Cheating on a spouse can be considered wrong and immoral, but should it be illegal?
In Maryland, cheating can lead to a criminal record. But a lawmaker in Annapolis is trying to change that.
Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would decriminalize adultery.
“Truly, this is simply arcane,” said Dumais during a committee hearing on the legislation Tuesday. “It is still grounds for divorce and is something we can talk about in family law cases, but there need not be a crime on the books.”
Under Maryland law, someone found guilty of adultery is convicted of a misdemeanor, but the other penalty associated with the crime is rather odd — offenders have to simply pay a $10 fine.
“In my 28 years of practice, I have never, ever, had a client charged with it or been in a case where anyone was charged with it,” said Dumais, a lawyer who concentrates on family law with the firm Ethridge, Quinn, Kemp, McAuliffe, Rowan & Hartinger, in Rockville.
According to Maryland records, at least three people were charged with adultery last year.