The term “sex offense” actually covers a broad spectrum of practices and behavoirs, from consentual multi-partner unions such as in the case of polygamy and bigamy to seriously deviant acts such as sexual assault, incest and child molestation.
All states have clear and detailed laws regarding any sexual acts that involve a minor child, regardless of whether the act was committed between family members (incest) or an unrelated third-party. Regardless of where you live, these offenses are treated as criminal acts and are punishable by prison and fines.
If the molestation or sexual exploitation is committed by a family member, then charges of incest could be added to the charge of sexual assualt of a child.
Sexual assult can also be committed against adults and can even be committed against a spouse. If a weapon is used, the charge can be upgraded to aggravated sexual assault. Other illegal and taboo offenses include public sexual indecency, indecent exposure and lewd and lacivious acts.
Adultery/cheating is considered an offense punishable as the cause of a divorce in some states (these states are referred to as at fault states); in other states (no-fault states) the court does not consider it relevant to divorce proceedings. Also See: At-fault vs. no-fault divorce
Same Sex Marriage – an issue where opinions of acceptability continue to vary greatly- is an area where the laws become even more inconsistent. In some states, same sex marriage is still a subjectively prohibited or discouraged practice in that the benefits and rights that would normally be given to married couples are not awarded to a same sex couple. While the United States has passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to define a legal marriage as a union between one man and one woman, there are many instances where an alternative interpretation of marriage is being openly practiced. Gay marriages are gaining support in several states, some even providing laws to grant same-sex couples rights and benefits traditionally granted only to heterosexual married couple. [read more...]
Polygamy – a form of marriage in which a person has more than one spouse – is a separate issue that is also gaining public attention as certain fundamentalist religious groups take their cause to court in an attempt to mesh their beliefs (acceptance of polygamy) with mainstream society.