There’s nothing that sets the mood for a romantic evening like petitioning a judge for permission to have sex at the end of the night.
If Massachusetts State Sen. Richard J. Ross (R) gets his way, that’s exactly what many women (and men) would have to do if they have children and are going through a divorce. In fact, not only would permission-less coitus be banned, but so too would the romantic evening and many dating activities.
Ross’ bill seeks to amend Massachusetts divorce law with the following provision (emphasis added):
In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.
The legislation, S787, was first filed in early 2013. On Thursday, it received an extension for consideration in the State House until June 30. In its current state, the bill does not specify what the penalty is for pre-divorce copulation.
Massachusetts law currently mandates a waiting period of at least 120 days for divorces to become finalized, and that’s only after a judge has approved the separation agreement. In other words, it could take at least four months, if not longer, before a person getting a divorce is legally allowed to fornicate.
Ross, who serves as Minority Whip, took over former Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) state Senate seat in 2010.
Ross’ staff told ThinkProgress that the senator is “not in support” of the bill. It was filed on behalf of a constituent, Robert LeClair, as a courtesy to him. Massachusetts law allows legislators to put forth a citizen’s piece of legislation, as Ross did in this case, though there is no requirement that they do so.