. . . he did not intend for the races to mix.” 32 This quote made apparent how the prejudices and
religious views of those in the legal profession can distort reason and affect the law.
Today, interracial marriages are both legal and common, but same-sex marriage is
prohibited in many states. 33 The persistence of this policy, at least in some states, signals that law
is still influenced by religion. Prostitution, like same-sex marriage, was outlawed because it is
viewed as an immoral act. 34 While prostitution and same-sex marriage are inherently different
legal issues, they seem to both be affected by society’s views of religion and morality.
People who believe in God often form their moral views out of their religious beliefs, 35
and Christianity played a role in the foundation of the United States as it exists today. 36 In
Christianity, a person’s virginity is an object of pureness to be reserved for marriage, 37 and thus
intercourse is immoral if it does not take place within the context of marriage. 38 Under this view,
an individual who, in exchange for money or before marriage, engages in intercourse is
committing a transgression against God, making their act immoral in the eyes of society. 39 This
same rationale could be applied to children who engage in prostitution by categorizing their acts
as immoral. 40 Although morality may not be responsible for generating the problem that “safe
harbor” laws attempt to fix—the treatment of prostituted children as criminals as opposed to
victims—it could be a factor.
In arguing that religion may play a subconscious role in our morals and therefore in our
laws, it is important to clarify that this is not a criticism of religion. In fact, religious groups are
often involved in helping abused children, 41 including those who have perhaps not been down a
righteous path. As individuals, our religious views are part of us, and just like biases they affect
the way we view the world even when we have the best intentions. As Henri Bergson put it: “the
eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” 42
B. International Protections
Sex trafficking—different from prostitution in that it involves a lack of consent43—is a
mobile crime that spreads across borders and often involves children. 44 In 2000, the United
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32 Id.; Loving, 388 U.S. at 3.
33 See Nancy K. Kubasek et al., Civil Union Statutes: A Shortcut to Legal Equality for Same-Sex Partners in a Landscape Littered with
Defense of Marriage Acts, 15 U. FLA. J.L. & PUB. POL’ Y 229, 237–38 (2004).
34 See Roe v. Butterworth, 958 F. Supp. 1569, 1577 (S.D. Fla. 1997), aff’d, 129 F.3d 1221 (11th Cir. 1997).
35 WILLIAM J. WAINWRIGHT, RELIGION AND MORALITY (2005) (supporting command theory, a theory that argues that God’s
commands determine right from wrong and moral from immoral).
36 Mark David Hall, Did America Have a Christian Founding?, HERITAGE FOUND. (June 7, 2011),
37 See 1 Corinthians 7: 7–9 (“I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of
another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”).
38 See id. at 7: 2 (“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own
husband.”); see also Sieber v. Town of Oliver Springs, No. E1999-01228-COA-R3-CV, 2000 WL 555233, at 3 (Tenn. Ct. App. May
8, 2000) (stating that engaging in sex for money was immoral conduct).
39 See 1 Corinthians 7: 2; see Sieber, 2000 WL 555233, at 3.
40 See Neelum Arya, Using Graham v. Florida to Challenge Juvenile Transfer Laws, 71 LA. L. REV. 99, 107–08 (2010) (discussing
juvenile transfer laws and a perceived “moral panic” that swept the United States during the 1990s).
41 Some of the religious entities involved in efforts to protect children from sexual abuse include the Archdiocese of Chicago Office
for Child Abuse Investigations and Review, Jewish Child and Family Services, Misericordia, and the Brevard Interfaith Coalition, to
name a few. See Brevard Interfaith Coalition, CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF CENTRAL FLORIDA (Jan. 22, 2015, 9: 10 P.M.),
http://www.cflcc.org/interfaith/home; Coalition Against Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities (CASACD), CHICAGO CHILDREN’S
ADVOCACY CENTER (Jan. 22, 2015, 9:00 P.M.) http://www.chicagocac.org/what-we-do/casacd/.
42 MICHAEL MCCAUSLAND, PIONEERING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: SURVIVAL SKILLS FOR THE TRANSFORMATION GENERATION, 83
(2012), available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/hstatic/Pioneering+in+the+21st+Century.pdf.
43 Sex trafficking takes place when a child is kidnapped or coerced into exchanging sexual favors for money, whereas prostitution
takes place when a child decides to engage in prostitution and does so willingly. See Elizabeth M. Bruch, Models Wanted: The Search