Senators Jennifer Beck and Michael Doherty announced today they have introduced legislation explicitly banning adult incest in New Jersey. The legislation is identical to a bill alreadyintroduced in the Assembly by Mary Pat Angelini.
Last month news outlets detailed reports that an 18-year-old woman was planning to marry her once-estranged biological father and move to New Jersey as it is one of the only states where there is no legal prohibition against adult incest.
“It’s time to put this law on the books to close off a clearly unacceptable loophole,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “Incestuous relationships not only violate moral standards but pose serious health concerns for any births that might occur out of the relationship.”
According to a report, sexual relationships between adult relatives was illegal until 1979 when the state enacted a new criminal code that left a section planned for incest blank.
“I don’t think the intent was ever to legalize incest or make New Jersey a safe haven for this type of immoral relationship,” said Doherty (Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset). “This is certainly an issue the legislature needs to take a stand on and clear up as soon as possible.”
The bill makes it illegal to marry or commit an act of sexual penetration with a blood relative including a parent or child, brother or sister, including half-siblings, or an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. If convicted, violators could face a term of imprisonment between three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.