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  • Judge Jim Gray

Legalized Prostitution

The idea that “Laws Reflect Society’s Values” is basically true. But it is also true that, in many ways, “We Can’t Legislate Morality.” When I was in Costa Rica with the Peace Corps from 1966 to 1968, prostitution was totally legal for adults. They had houses where the women lived and “did business,” so we would never see those women on the streets. In addition, they had no need for “pimps,” and their lives were far less dangerous than they are here because they are shielded from confrontations by men in unknown areas. And, since their business was regulated, they were required to have checkups with a medical doctor every month, which kept them as well as their customers more free from disease. In fact, if we had that approach here, they would also be required to pay their income taxes.

Of course, prostitution is not called the “World’s Oldest Profession” for nothing: it has been around since the beginning of human beings. And if anyone in our country actually wants to be with prostitutes they are not difficult to find, whether it be in an upscale or lower economic area, or anywhere else in between. And, when it comes down to it, why should a consenting adult not be able to offer or accept services like this? I agree that this would offend many people’s sense of morality. But to libertarians it is a matter of personal liberty, as long as no one wrongfully inflicts him or herself upon anyone else. And, when it comes down to it, isn’t it more of a moral result for those involved not to be harmed nearly as much by violence and disease? And by being criminally prosecuted – particularly since it is almost always the prostitutes who are prosecuted instead of their customers? So I present this idea to you for your consideration, because it really did work in Costa Rica – which was at that time a totally Catholic country. This article is an edited reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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