Sex outside of marriage may soon be legal in Utah

The Utah State Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that repealed the misdemeanor crime of fornication, making sex outside of marriage legal within the state.

The House passed Senate Bill 43 with a 41-32 vote, FOX13 Salt Lake City reported. The bill is headed to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk for his signature or veto. It was unclear if he supports the bill. The bill didn’t sit well with some conservative members of the state House.

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“What is legally is often far below what is morally right,” said state Republican Rep. Kevin Stratton, who objected to the bill. “And I recognize our laws are not strong enough to rule an immoral people.”

“And I recognize our laws are not strong enough to rule a immoral people.”

— Rep. Kevin Stratton, R-Orem

Sex between those unmarried was criminalized in 1973. The bill that passed Tuesday was part of the legislature’s efforts to clean up its criminal code, removing unenforceable laws from the books, state Republican Rep. Paul Ray told FOX13.

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The Utah Legislature previously passed a bill removing adultery and sodomy among consenting adults as punishable crimes in the state, the station reported.