Last weekend, I enjoyed a wonderful summer vacation in Savannah. And I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat. In the same city, two half-siblings were caught hooking up in a church parking lot having sex.

Christopher Buckner (female, don’t let the name fool you), a 20-year-old, and her brother, Timothy Savoy (25-years-old), were arrested and fined immediately. They claim to have had intercourse three times after watching The Notebook.

The consequences are steep. The duo were arrested for incest, aggravated sodomy, and prowling. Savoy still remains in jail on felony charges and is being held on a $13,400 bond, whereas his sister was released on a $9,000 bond.

This is just nuts.

Collectively, the two siblings now have an arrest record and will have over $20,000 worth of debt to the state. They may have to register as sex offenders. Even though I, like many Game of Thrones fans, think that incest is unnatural and unhealthy for any future offspring they might have, I don’t think having consensual sex with your brother or sister should mean that the state has license to effectively ruin your life.

This is another example of the state butting its nose into an area where it doesn’t belong. Incest is a moral issue.

I never venture to call it necessarily immoral, but unnatural. While incest occurs frequently in nature, Nathaniel Wheelwright, an evolutionary biologist at Bowdoin College in Maine, aptly notes that, “Sex results in… diverse offspring and maintains a diversity of genes.” Having sex with one’s siblings—with whom you share over half your genes (and in this case, the half-siblings would share up to a quarter of the same genes), completely negates that point. As we all know, children that arise from incest run the risk of greater genetic mutation which can significantly decrease their quality of life. The linked article goes on to note that on the whole, “the risk of incest in plants and animals generally outweighs any of the benefits.”

But when having sex without intent of having children (which sounds like the kind of sex Buckner and Timothy were having), there really isn’t any problem. For me, this is a morally neutral issue. When procreation is involved, the waters may get murkier, but I believe that that’s the parent’s issue, not the state’s.

Some states have more lenient laws when it comes to incest. For example, Rhode Island repealed its criminal adult incest statute in 1989 and New Jersey has no penalties for when both parties are adults. However, it is still illegal to marry your sibling in both states. To me, unless the sex involved non-consent or a child, it should be good to go in the state’s eyes. There is no reason why the state should protect people from themselves if the crime is truly victimless.

Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy are going to go through a lifetime of consequences for having sex with each other. Even if some find their actions morally reprehensible–disgusting, even–let’s not ruin their lives over something that affected no one but themselves. Libertarians don’t have to agree with the actions of everyone else–but that’s the benefit of a free society. Don’t regulate my body and my choices, and I won’t regulate yours. Enjoy having sex with your brother if you want to.

In this case, two consenting adults decided to have sex with each other. There was no coercion involved and no loss of property, so far as we can tell. This is a victimless crime and the state has no business regulating it.

  • Sheva Bree

    Hmm… For me incest falls under the same category as statutory rape and relationships between Boss/Employee, Captain/Private, President/Intern. The participants themselves may be technically consenting but there can be a power differential that pretty much strips the ability to say no from the partner with the lesser power/age/etc. We don’t know how this relationship began. We don’t know if both entered willingly or if one was coerced but now just goes along for whatever reasons. Consent is ,more than just saying yes, it is also having the ability to say no without reprecussions.

    • steve

      If it was unwilling, there are already laws for that. These people shouldn’t havw to be in this situation.

    • DST

      You might have a point in the case of a man and his 16-year old (legal) daughter, but for (half) siblings of a similar age? Also, consent is not the ability to say no without repercussions. Everything we do has repercussions, and sex is no different. If one person says no, the other side may lose interest, hook up with someone else, etc. Sexual freedom includes being an adult and taking responsibility for your decisions, including saying no.

  • Christopher Shafer

    At the very least, I think registering them with pedophiles and rapists is a bit much.

    Also, The Notebook strikes again!

  • Keith Pullman

    There is no good reason, consistently applied to other relationships, to keep criminalizing or denying marriage to incestuous relationships. Most frequently cited is “birth defects,” but sex and marriage are NOT synonymous with having children and we let people with obvious, serious, genetic diseases have sex, marry, and have children, and the fact is most people born to consanguineous parents are healthy. Another reason people give is “grooming,” which doesn’t even apply to people who did not grow up together but are still denied their rights. That argument also fails when you realize it is perfectly legal for someone to marry someone who was a boarder in her home throughout her entire childhood. It basically boils down to “ew!” which is not a legitimate reason.

  • “This is another example of the state butting its nose into an area where it doesn’t belong. Incest is a moral issue.”

    While I’ll cheerfully agree that EVERY area is an area where the state’s nose doesn’t belong (because the state should be abolished), that seems like strange reasoning.

    ALL legislation and state action is based on moral claims. Murder, rape, etc. are illegal because they’re considered wrong. To legislate is to legislate morality.

  • Guest1278

    Liberals are so intolerant (in general, though I have met some liberals that are not intolerant at all and are in fact very moral people)… They fight for the most disgusting things: slavery, lynching, and incest to name a few. Liberals tend to fight for things that they know deep down are wrong, but they choose to go against any morals. From what I can tell, liberals try to fight all things that are moral because they don’t want to be associated with Christians, who tend to have morals. Liberals knew deep down that black people are equal to white people, but they resisted being associated with morality, and instead formed the KKK to lynch black people. They fought against the Civil Rights Acts and continue to advocate for discrimination, especially against religious groups, particularly Christians. Like I said, this isn’t all liberals, but they vast majority of the far, far left liberals seem to follow this. In addition, I would like to add that many, many people claiming to be Christians are not really Christians at all but rather use Christianity as a cover up for things just as messed up as the things mentioned above. I am a Christian and I do make mistakes, in fact I sin daily (something I’m not proud of in the least bit, but I will not lie about it). But I try to keep myself from advocating immoral things. I mess up at times and do advocate things that I deep down know should not be, but instead of advocating it more, I try to realize my mistake and quit advocating it. Sorry for the rant, I just had to get this out.

    • LaBella

      Liberals fight FOR slavery/ They fight FOR lynching? I think you have it wrong, Liberals formed the KKK?????
      What are you smoking?
      Meanwhile conservatives have voted against wage equality, they have voted against measures in expand healthcare to everyone.. but they have voted FOR mandatory sentencing, they have voted for privatization of government services, including prison, and while the 14th amendment kept people from keeping slaves, they didn’t stop the government from doing the same, and those prisoners in jail 25 years on minor things.. Yeah, they now get to work as slaves for the government.
      This was not something that liberals did.

  • LaBella

    I just want to point out a fallacy in this article, and the person writing it should have known better

    As we all know, children that arise from incest run the risk of greater genetic mutation which can significantly decrease their quality of life.

    This is completely wrong. Children from inbreeding so NOT run the greater risk of genetic mutation. What they DO run the greater risk of is the expression of genetic recessives that can significantly decrease their quality of life.
    Technically, every red head, every blond and ever blue, grey, green eyed person is the result of inbreeding as they express the genetic mutation of one far off ancestor.
    The same is true of people with cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, color blindness, and any other genetic disorder that is recessive in nature.

    They were having sex.. big deal.. Now, were they planning on having children together? That would be the problem.