Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mass. bill would limit sexual freedom for seniors, disabled

Remember the stories (all too true, unfortunately) about parents charged with child pornography after the submitted photos of their naked babies doing funny/cute things to their local film processor?

Well, Grandma and Grandpa may be next!

A bill submitted by Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, D-Suffolk, meant to protect the mentally incompetent, will make it a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison to take a nude picture of a person over sixty or a disabled person. The bill is written so broadly that a 60 year old husband taking a picture of his 60 year old wife could be prosecuted.

Part of the bill states that people over age 60 and people with disabilities who have been declared mentally incompetent cannot give consent to erotic photographs, any more than a minor can give consent. But other parts of the bill only use the term "elders and persons with a disability," without referencing mental competence or consent.

As a result, said University of California-Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh, the bill could be interpreted as banning competent, consenting couples with disabilities from taking nude photographs of each other, or lovers over age 60 from making saucy pictures of themselves.

"If the law was limited to [the mentally incompetent], I wouldn't be mocking it," he said, adding, "let me be more academic: I wouldn't be condemning it as I have been." Boston Globe.

Photo of Kathi-Anne Reinstein from the website

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