3

Suppose that humanity made contact with a species of aliens with a comparable anatomy, sexuality and level of intelligence to ours. If I lived in the state of Washington, I would not be allowed to consummate my connection to my alien partner:

RCW 16.52.205: Animal cruelty in the first degree.
(3) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when he or she:
(a) Knowingly engages in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;
(9) (a) For purposes of this section: (b) "Animal" means every creature, either alive or dead, other than a human being.

Where might we go to experience our interplanetary carnal bliss legally, a place where the wording of bestiality laws does not put me at risk of a class C felony?

3
  • Not in Washington! Honestly, though, let them take you to Court. This is how new "law" is made: new conditions that the original legislators did not anticipate. Dec 30, 2023 at 22:46
  • I’m sure that this definition of “animal” would be changed quickly. Might be complicated if the extraterrestrials also have animals.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 31, 2023 at 12:18
  • Th extraterrestrial would also have to worry. They might get arrested by their own government for sex with an animal (you).
    – gnasher729
    Dec 31, 2023 at 12:24

4 Answers 4

4

West Virginia, obviously.

West Virginia has no law against having sex with animals,1 so you are free to engage your new friend in whatever sexual acts you wish, without fear of legal consequences.

This does not mean, of course, that there will be no consequences.

1. While the source indicates a similar situation in New Mexico, that state did recently pass a law making bestiality a felony.

1
  • Country roads, take us home, to the place we belong...
    – Purple P
    Jan 1 at 0:26
4

The same place that you go to have congress with fairies: your imagination

It is a general feature of the law that it only deals with things that are known to exist - not things that might exist. This does mean that when things that might exist actually come into existence the law might have to play catch up, but it’s done this many times before (e.g. cars, aeroplanes, computers etc.). For example, its entirely possible that the first judge faced with this issue may very well decide that sapient extraterrestrials are human beings for the purposes of this statute.

5
  • 3
    I have downvoted this answer because it amounts to saying "You shouldn't ask this question" rather than attempting to answer it.
    – Purple P
    Dec 28, 2023 at 23:46
  • 4
    @PurpleP Not all legal questions have answers, and this is a feature, not a bug.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 29, 2023 at 1:14
  • 2
    The revolver did not exist when the Second Amendment was written, nor did television, the internet or the rotary press when the First Amendment was written. How come the Second Amendment applies to revolvers and the First Amendment applies to the internet.
    – user6726
    Dec 30, 2023 at 18:51
  • @user6726 because revolvers are "arms" and the rotary press is a "press" without any need for additional interpretation. Applying freedom of "speech" or the "press" to the internet or television requires some additional interpretation, but not much more than is needed to apply these to a document written by hand.
    – phoog
    Dec 31, 2023 at 9:47
  • I think the exact definition of “animal” was worded in a way that would exclude extraterrestrials not by intent, but more by coincidence. Other countries, especially with different languages, might use different wording that make neither intelligent nor unintelligent extraterrestrials “animals”.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 31, 2023 at 12:22
1

Laws don't generally recognize non-humans as persons, but could.

Only very few laws are worded without a word like human or person to point at whose conduct it regulates. Only where the word human or person can, in normal parlance, be attributed to point to non-human entities, the law could regulate conduct for them in the first degree.

The same goes for animals. If humans in general see those extraterrestrial species as animals, then fraternization would be zoophilia. If they are generally seen as humans or part of "people", it would be, under the law, contact between persons. And if a law, such as RCW 16.25.205 explicitly defines what it deems an animal as "not human", then that law overwrites the common understanding. That law explicitly would apply to human-alien contact of a carnal nature.

1

Washington law provides a specialized definition of "animal" only for this specific law, necessary since humans are animals, and the goal was to limit the scope of the no-sex prohibition. "Human being" is not defined in Washington law, in fact it is the undefined basis of the term "natural person". At the federal level,

the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

which is to say that the federal government solves the problem by reference to a species classification. Washington state does not do this.

Whether or not you and Deanna Troi can legally consummate your relation in Washington is a somewhat open question, insofar as you could do it, the county prosecutor being a xenophobe could decide to make an example of you so you get prosecuted and maybe convicted. You nevertheless have an option (if you get a decent lawyer), which is to argue that she is a human being and that the jury is to be so instructed. This will end up at the Supreme Court (at least Washington Supreme Court), in the unlikely case that Washington SC does not decide in your favor, you take it to SCOTUS and hope for the best.

If the final judgment is that an alien is "not a human being and not homo sapiens", you will know that your act was illegal, and furthermore that Deanna Troi does not enjoy the rights of (other) humans. Supreme courts are constantly discovering subtleties about the legal meanings of words, and since this is a question that bears on a fundamental constitutionally-protected right plus it involves a suspect classification, the interpretation of the law will not be made according to the loose principle "the government can do whatever it wants". Instead, the law will be subjected to strict scrutiny ("Suspect classifications include race, national origin, religion, and alienage"). This makes it vastly harder to apply this law to sapient volitional species.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .