Op-Ed Spotlight: Ban Adultery-for-Profit

Starting with Rielle Hunter

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Isn't there some way to stop Rielle Hunter, John Edwards's lover, from vaulting herself into the spotlight and posing half-nude in GQ? That's what National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher wonders in a new column. She realizes you can't "legislate morality," but she thinks that society should, at the very least, be able to forbid homewreckers from profiting from national media coverage.

Currently we offer the person most injured by adultery -- the innocent spouse -- only one legal option for redress: the nuclear option of exploding her own family through divorce. I understand why women might choose that option, but not why we are so unwilling to give them any other option.

Item: I'm driving in my car, listening on Sirius/XM radio to the Fox News Channel. In between Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, I hear an ad for a Web site whose commercial niche is helping arrange adulterous liaisons for married men. (I refuse to help their marketing by repeating the business's name.)

Item: I open up my favorite newspaper, the New York Post. Ashley Dupre, the prostitute who serviced Eliot Spitzer (meaning she committed both prostitution and adultery), is now a sex columnist dispensing relationship advice to young people.


I want people who commit this moral trespass to have the decency not to attempt to profit from it in the national media ... we could ... update ... older torts of adultery with new language that makes explicit that commercial enterprises that intentionally and explicitly attempt to profit from acts of adultery expose themselves to lawsuits by the injured wife and children. ...

People do bad things. We can't always stop them. But we could prevent them from turning adultery into a business model. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.