Legislators seek to decriminalize adultery in Colorado

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Two legislators have introduced a bill to repeal laws against adultery in Colorado. (Credit: Wiki Commons)

Two legislators have introduced a bill to repeal laws against adultery in Colorado. (Credit: Wiki Commons)

DENVER — It may come as a surprise to some Coloradans that adultery remains a crime in the Centennial State. And hotel operators may be even more shocked to learn that renting a room to an unmarried couple who plans to have sex is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

To be fair, these statues are rarely prosecuted and the former carries no penalty. But the fact that so-called sexual immorality remains a crime on the books is enough to prompt some lawmakers to challenge it.

Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village) and Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver) are sponsoring House Bill 13-1166, which would decriminalize adultery and “promoting sexual immorality.” The legislators unsuccessfully tried to repeal the laws in a previous session.

“The purpose of the repeal that I’m seeking in my bill is to keep the police out of our bedrooms,” Kagan said Monday. “There are some areas of life where we really shouldn’t be subject to being questioned by law enforcement, and I think this is one of them.”

Promoting sexual immorality is perhaps the most surprisingly broad crime. Under statute 18-7-208, one may not provide “seclusion, privacy, opportunity, protection, comfort or assistance” to unmarried sexual partners, or to those engaging in “deviate sexual intercourse.”  Even people who have never been married to anyone would seem to be covered under the law.

Between 2007 and 2012, there were 10 prosecutions and two convictions of people accused of promoting sexual immorality, according to a Legislature fiscal impact report. By law, the penalty for a class 2 misdemeanor is $250 to $1,000 fine. As written, being convicted of promoting sexual immorality should also bar one from becoming a peace officer.