Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Moral Crimes

  • Robert Meier
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_302



The study of moral crimes requires awareness of differences in the degree of moral condemnation of conduct. While a number of crimes seem to generate a consensus regarding their immoral character, there are some that do not. These crimes set the stage for conflict and to understand their nature one must be sensitive to the role of power in putting such acts within the criminal law.

What Are Moral Crimes?

In April 2009, the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa ruled unanimously to permit same-sex marriage. In November 2010, three of the judges, who were on the ballot for their job retention, were defeated and removed from office, largely because of their vote on same-sex marriage. One poll found that 41 % of Iowans said they would vote for a ban, while 40 % said they would not; the rest said they would not vote or were undecided (Clayworth and Beaumont 2009). And 92 % said the legalization of gay marriage had brought no real...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading and References

  1. Black D (2011) Moral time. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Carpenter D (2011) How the law accepted gays. New York Times, April 29, p A25Google Scholar
  3. Carpenter D (2012) Flagrant conduct: the story of Lawrence v. Texas: how a bedroom arrest decriminalized gay Americans. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Clayworth J, Beaumont T (2009) Iowa poll: Iowans evenly divided on gay marriage ban. Des Moines Register, September 20: Accessed online at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090921/NEWS10/909210321/1001/NEWS
  5. Durose MR, Langan PA, Schmitt EL (2003) Recidivism of sex offenders released from prison in 1994. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington D.C, Accessed online at: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1136
  6. Erikson K (1966) Wayward puritans: a study in the sociology of deviance. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Hakim D, Kaplan T, Barbaro M (2011) After backing gay marriage, 4 in G.O.P. face voters’ verdict. New York Times, July 4, pp A1 and A3Google Scholar
  8. Lancaster RN (2011a) Sex panic and the punitive state. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  9. Lancaster RN (2011b) Sex offenders: the last pariahs. New York Times, August 21, pp 6–7Google Scholar
  10. Lovett I (2011) California to require gay history in schools. New York Times, July 15, p A16Google Scholar
  11. Nation C (2011) Iowa justice urges duty of citizens: be informed. Omaha World-Herald, April 17, 5BGoogle Scholar
  12. Oshinsky D (2012) Flagrant conduct. The New York Times Book Review. March 18, pp 1, 10–11Google Scholar
  13. Pennington K (1993) The prince and the law, 1200–1600: sovereignty and rights in the western legal tradition. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  14. Quinney R (1970) The social reality of crime. Little Brown, BostonGoogle Scholar
  15. Sample L, Evans M (2009) Sex offender registration and community notification in Wright R, Sex offender laws: failed policies, new directions. Springer, New York, pp 211–242Google Scholar
  16. Tavernise S (2011a) Access to health care benefits for gay partners is gauged. New York Times, July 27, p A12Google Scholar
  17. Tavernise S (2011b) New numbers, and geography, for gay couples. New York Times, August 25, A1 and A4Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA