Sunday, May 15, 2011

Florida lawmakers legalize sex with vegetables while ... Huh? We did what!!!

Sen. Nan Rich, animal.
Florida recently legalized plant sex. In a 115-0 vote, the state House sent a measure to Gov. Rick Scott's desk earlier this month that protects the ability of vegetables and other supermarket produce to procreate.

But the rest of us are, apparently, out of luck when it comes to getting lucky. At least after October 1.

On that date, sex between humans and just about anything else that doesn't make its own chlorophyll becomes illegal - a first degree misdemeanor - in the Sunshine State.

Maybe animal. Consult lawyer.
The measure, authored by Senate Minority Leader Nan H. Rich, D-Sunrise, and forwarded to the House on a 38-0 vote in March, was originally designed to curb the practice of bestiality (or zoophilia) - something that likely does require a degree of practice.

But, aside from wrecking the singles scene in the more rural parts of the state, it inadvertantly went way beyond its initial intent.

It also proved that:
1. Nobody in Tallahasee bothers to read anything they vote on, and;
2. Cutting the state's education budget might not have been the wisest choice, and;
3. Somebody needs to buy these people a dictionary.

In its rush to rid the state of this dark side of animal husbandry - and the Internet of some of its more acrobatic adult content - both chambers wound up banning sex between consenting homo sapiens. Humans. Us. You.

Definitely not animal.
"An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties ..."

The bill's "providing definitions" section is the problem. While it defines "sex" in the kind of anatomical detail that would likely make a $7.95-a-minute, 1-900 "telephone actress" blush, something apparently got lost in all of the excitement. The definition of "animal."

From the bill - "A person may not: Knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal ..."

Knowingly? As if this can be done accidentally?

Anyway, as any 10th-grade Intro to Biology student knows, humans are animals. Or, as Merriam-Webster tells us, "a bipedal primate mammal." The same source goes on to explain that we mammals are: "A warm-blooded vertebrate animal ..." The rest of the definition talks about hair, secretion of milk by females and birthing our young.

If Scott signs the legislation, we can pretty much put that last part on hold.
Human = Mammal.
Mammal = Animal.
Human = Animal.
You = Sleeping on Couch.
Legislative junkies understand that proposed statutes usually go overboard when it comes to talking about whatever it is they are talking about. The definitions stapled to bills are often longer than the bill's actual text.

A measure regulating stop signs, for instance, can lay waste to entire hardwood forests defining "stop" and "sign" in the kind of obsessive-compulsive detail normally reserved for bicycle assembly instructions and prescription medicine disclaimers.

It's a fair guess that the boys and girls in the Legislative Reference Bureau - the anonymous cave dwellers who actually do the bill writing - became so aroused over the "what," they completely forgot about the "who."

In this case, the "what" focused on language explicitly describing and defining various body parts touching or penetrating other parts. Pretty exciting stuff for people more accustomed to writing erosion control legislation.

With no actual definition of "who" in the bill, the proposed statute would apparently leave it to the courts to decide. That's always a good idea.

Those who argue that the bill's language defaults to common sense haven't spent much time hanging out with judges - especially judges with dictionaries, an appetite for strict interpretation and a fundamental distaste for the mechanics of human reproduction.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th EditionA jurist who brings to the bench the basic notion that: "If I ain't getting any, you ain't getting any." A judge whose rulings typically end with the words "bailiff, take 'em away." One with absolutely no interest in "legislative intent," just what's in the statute and his copy of Merriam-Webster.

And for those with more curiosity than the Florida Legislature, the definition of "animal" is:
Any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor responses to stimulation.
Translation: Floridians are animals. Floridians are also, it would seem, doomed to cold showers and thinking about baseball.

Unless, that is, they figure out how to do photosynthesis prior to October 1.