Other than good sense, what would stop (if anything) the US Congress from passing a law making all sex illegal?

Obviously this is a hypothetical. But it's only somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I am curious about the boundaries on the government power in this area.

1 Answer 1


No. The constitution protects the right of consenting adults to have sex in private "without the intervention of the government." Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578 (U.S. 2003).

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    No, only The People can.
    – user6726
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 4:39
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    @Greendrake any answer here has the implicit caveat that it applies to a given legal framework (often the one that is currently in place). If the legal framework changes enough, then the answer might be diffierent, of course.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 8:48
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    I suspect the confusion here is due to the fact that "the Constitution" means something very different in the United States than in other common-law jurisdictions. In the U.K. or New Zealand, the constitution is a bunch of different laws, most of which require little more than a normal legislative act to amend or repeal. In the United States, though, the consitution is a single document; the federal government can propose changes to it, but it can't enact them until 38 states approve. It's a very cumbersome process and rarely ever used.
    – bdb484
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:10
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    @Greendrake I think it is a safe assumption that any question about the legal boundaries of any legislative actions are meant in the context of the current constitutional framework. Moreover, since the question explicitly asks about the Federal Government, amending the constitution is out of the scope of the question because the Federal Government alone cannot amend the Constitution. Such process, while it has to be initiated by the Federal Government, would require ratification by the legislatures of "two-third majority" (currently 34) states.
    – grovkin
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:43
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    @Greendrake: the United States (federal) government cannot amend the Constitution on its own. Article V provides a process for amendments. The process requires ratification not only by the federal Congress but also by the overwhelming (three-fourths) majority of state governments or ratification conventions within the states. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 19:32

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