As a concept, this one has buzz kill written all over it: What kind of sex did the Founding Fathers enjoy? Yet UCLA psychology professor Paul Abramson and fellow writer L.J. Williamson had our fair city talking about that very thing last week after they read their argument that we have a constitutional right to sodomy (and other sexual practices) (“Give Sodomy a Chance,” Jan. 28).
The story, part of our Sex issue, argues that citizens have a fundamental right to sex, even if the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently sidestepped the issue. Abramson wrote that the court should rule that state sodomy laws are unconstitutional under the Ninth Amendment, which says that the mere enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be construed to deny other rights retained by the people.
Commenter Wastrel Way responds thus: “Ninth Amendment 'amnesia' indeed. I'd say it's Ninth Amendment denial. Imagine if those things that the Constitution (that wondrous open-ended model) doesn't mention but people have done since the beginning of time were considered 'rights' instead of prohibited, or at best called 'privileges.' You would have a right not only to participate in any kind of sexual acts with whomever you wanted, but a right to smoke or otherwise consume any substance, a right to buy and sell whatever you wanted to make a living … The only things the government could prohibit would be those things that have always been considered crimes, like theft, assault, murder and being a complete jerk.
“Moreover, the rights of an individual person would trump the 'rights' of businesses whenever there was a conflict. This simply could not be allowed, and from very early on in our country's history, courts (at the urging of power-hungry government officials and profit-seeking businesses) decided that the Ninth Amendment was merely some nice sounding words that meant nothing.”
Reader Pat writes: “The Founding Fathers were not platonic in their relationships. They did appreciate sex and very likely enjoyed the blow jobs the ladies gave them, whether those ladies were wives, mistresses or hookers. But it's not known if anal sex was among these activities; that would take a bit of research.”
Research indeed, Pat. Take your Flip camera.
Our story notes that Texas Republicans are pushing to make sodomy a crime again in that state, a fact that elicits this from Albert:
“Pure hypocrisy. I'll bet $1,000 that the same people (in Texas, or anywhere else) that want to criminalize sodomy believe (or hope) that it would only be used against gays. If cops and prosecutors start using the same law against straight people, then citizens in general would see how stupid it is for the government to make your funny business its business.“
Reader Jason O writes: “This must be an example of that Small Government that stays out of your personal business that Republicans always talk about. Oh, wait …”
Finally, there's this from reader Tomsans: “It's just plain annoying how some busy bodies out there feel the need to stop people from doing absolutely everything that they themselves do not do. When will these idiots learn that in a free country a person should have the right to do anything as long as it doesn't harm others? And last time I checked, getting or giving a knob job with a consensual partner doesn't hurt anyone (unless they use their teeth). The government and all politicians just need to back off.”
Our story detailing the Craigslist “Casual Encounters” experiences of four people also stirred readers to comment, starting with Mwalimu, who chastised Josh, an HIV-positive gay man who seeks hookups outside his relationship.
“As a gay male, I firmly believe that Josh, your poster-boy gay, needs a man-to-man. Josh apparently thinks that if both [parties] are HIV+, it's OK to bareback. He's dead wrong. An HIV virus accurately replicates itself about 2/3 of the time. The other 1/3 are mutants. As a result HIV comes in thousands of different strains. Josh did not reveal which meds he uses to control his HIV, but every time he barebacks with someone else, he invites all sorts of weird HIV strains into his body — strains that are either immune to his meds, or strains that produce med-resistant strains. He passes his lethal cocktail of HIV strains on to every man he barebacks.
“I am also confused about Josh's 'committed' relationship with his boyfriend. How can you be 'committed' if you are cheating all the time?”
Our story included a straight man who got little response to his ad and a straight woman who got skads of responses from men but ultimately decided not to follow through because she feared any number of bad outcomes.
To which reader Jan replies: “That is exactly the reason prostitutes are necessary in any society. Women are extremely selective about casual sex partners. They have such high standards that most men just cannot meet. I'm not blaming them, it's their preference. But I hope society acknowledges this uneven playing field and starts accepting paid sex as a normal sexual outlet for single men.”
Our online report about the latest move by Anschutz Entertainment Group and partner Casey Wasserman, as they try to win city approval for a downtown football stadium, drew swift responses from readers. Some saw the maneuver as a slick way to pressure the city into granting fast approval to the plan. Others were incredulous at the amount Farmers Insurance is willing to pay to put its name on the stadium.
Nick Price writes: “700 MILLION DOLLARS!!! For naming rights.“
Yeah. Remember just a dozen years ago when a certain company paid the unheard-of sum of $100 million to put “Staples” atop the new basketball and hockey arena?
Farmers Field might sound odd for a gridiron in downtown L.A. But if the Pittsburgh Steelers can go to another Super Bowl with a stadium named for a condiment (Heinz Field), what's wrong with a few cows alongside the 10?
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