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Live Free or Die New Hampshire Moves to Decriminalize Adultery

In: Business and Management

Submitted By macdog
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Ethics Minicase

Article: Live free or die: New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery
Synopsis: New Hampshire lawmakers on Thursday voted to scrap an ancient law that makes cheating on your spouse a criminal offense in the New England state whose motto is "Live Free or Die."

Issue: Is cheating on one’s spouse unethical even though there will be no law against doing so?

Application of tests: Generalization Test: Corollary 1: An action is unethical if its general adoption would undermine a practice it presupposes. Pass. Since adultery would not be illegal, it would not undermine any law(s). Corollary 2: One shouldn’t be a free rider on the efforts of others. Fail. Since anyone who commits adultery would essentially be betraying the trust of his or her spouse and perhaps the other person with whom he or she is being unfaithful. The free rider would more than likely be the cheater who is benefiting from both his or her spouse and their lover and quite possibly the lover who may not want a full-time relationship in which case he or she would be free riding on the adulterer and his or her spouse. Corollary 3: An action is unethical if generalizing the action is inconsistent with achieving its purpose. Fail. The action of committing adultery is inconsistent with the purpose of two people getting married and pledging to each other faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. Corollary 4: An action is unethical if generalizing the action is inconsistent with the possibility that everyone who performs the action achieves its purpose. Fail. If everyone committed adultery this would defeat the purpose of getting married.

Utilitarian Test: Fail. The action of adultery does not create greater total net utility because marriage, to most people, symbolizes a union between two people only.
Virtue Test: Fail. The act of adultery displays disloyalty, infidelity, betrayal, and deceitfulness.

Conclusion: 1. Generalization test: Fail 2. Utilitarian test: Fail 3. Virtue ethics test: Fail
Allowing a law to legalize adultery could possibly create chaos in our society, which has a wide array of theological beliefs. Some consider it a sin to commit adultery and it is a belief that most were instilled with since childhood. If New Hampshire adopts such a law, it could be a movement for other states or perhaps all states to adopt.…...

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