David Vitter, Politics, Prostitution, Reader Polls

A Seminal Question: Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpgThe scandal surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who allegedly patronized prostitutes, raises an interesting issue. It surfaced in some of the comments to yesterday’s posts, and it’s raised in the defense of Governor Spitzer offered by his former law professor, Alan Dershowitz, on CNN:

“I don’t think he should face criminal charges for federal charges for the actual sex act itself…. I know nothing about the financial aspects of it. But this is a traditional state misdemeanor case. And, if anything, he should be charged with a class-B misdemeanor, which is a very, very slight offense, because being a john to an adult prostitute who was making $3,000 to $4,000 or $5,000 sounds to me very much like a victimless crime.”

This raises the question: Should prostitution even be a crime?
Of course, some of the outrage over Governor Spitzer’s case relates to potential hypocrisy. As New York Attorney General, he prosecuted prostitution rings, and condemned them in harsh language. But setting aside the hypocrisy issue, should what he’s accused of doing be a criminal offense?
Or should prostitution perhaps be decriminalized? Take our poll:

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