Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Slippery Slope of Solicitation

If any senator were going to be "entrapped" in the solicitation laws, well, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy than Senator Craig. Having said that, I agree with Senator Craig. Indeed, I don't think he did anything inappropriate. He was merely practicing free speech, a right guaranteed to him by the United States Constitution.

If the person he solicited (an officer of the law, in this case) didn't want to have sex with Senator Craig, the officer simply should have said, "No thank-you." I'm sure that Senator Craig would have understood completely, and would have widened his stance on the other side of his stall.

The principle here isn't one of public morality or anything like that. The principle is that speech in a public place should be free, even if people find it annoying or immoral or offensive. Just because speech is offensive doesn't mean that people who engage in it should be arrested, booked, or jailed.

There's also the matter of the double standard that solicitation laws impose. They are only enforced against prostitutes and gay men. They are never used against men hitting on women. If they were, a lot more lawyers, construction workers, and rap artists would be behind bars.

Because solicitation laws prohibit consenting adults from publicly arranging sexual liaisons, you should probably be careful what you ask your girlfriend in the bar or on the dance floor. You may be a felon, and not even know it. Just for the record, Senator Craig has never solicited me.