I am such a glutton for punishment. Last week I wrote about the furries, and now I’m speaking at a furry convention next week. My Twitter feed has been taken over by animals. Someone’s making a fucking fursuit. This is my life now. Seriously. This is my life now.
But it got me thinking: maybe I should make this a thing? I’m already locked into giving the furries (who are great fucking people by the way) one post a month focusing specifically on their legal issues, which we will call “Furry Friday” and will be doing on the last Friday of each month. Why not dive into some other shit on Fridays that nobody else in the blawgosphere is really talking about?
Hence what I am now calling “Fetish Friday,” the first installment of which is today and which will continue until morale improves in general. Third Friday of every month…which is today. And today, today I want to talk about something I read about on Twitter:
Master Slave Contracts. Because I fucking love contracts, and the fact these fucking things exist just blew my tiny little mind right the fuck away.
So, that said, let’s chat.
Let’s recognize a couple things off the bat, alright?
- I do not give a single fuck what you do in the bedroom, or in your personal life in general, so long as nobody is being seriously harmed and so long as everyone fucking consents;
- Most Master/slave situations that I’m seeing are consensual relationships more akin to fantasy roleplay than anything else;
- Most people don’t think these contracts are serious business and view them as something that simply enhances the goddamn kink involved;
- A lot of these contracts that I’m seeing aren’t as fucking weird as the one I’m going over today.
That said, let me say this: With very few exceptions, almost each and every one of these contracts are, in some way, highly unenforceable and encourage parties to engage in activity that is, regardless of consent, indefensible legally depending on the jurisdiction you fucking live in. But that whole question, consent and the legal risks of flogging your partner with a cat-o-nine tails, is a subject for another fucking post. Today we’re just talking about a ridiculous goddamn contract to point out how it in no fuckin’ way would ever be taken seriously as a legal fucking document by any judge that wanted to get re-elected.
Well…shit, let’s just take a quick look at the craziest, yet most realistic one, googling for a couple fuckin’ days on this topic brought to my attention: The “Consensual Slavery Contract” courtesy of this website.
First, how the fuck did I find this, before people start screaming that I’m being selective in what I’m picking out here. Well, I googled “master slave contract.” This was in the top fuckin’ five results, and as any lawyer will tell you, stupid assholes just fucking love to use the top five results in Google when searching for any quasi-legal term. Next, you’re goddamn right I’m being selective. Where’s the fun in finding a sane, well-written document that makes it clear it has absolutely no legal effect? That’s just counterproductive to the purposes of this post. Jesus, it’s like you assholes don’t even know me at this point.
So, yeah, the contract. Let’s just take a header into this shit, alright?
Let’s…let’s just unpack this real quick, alright? One: This is an unlimited contractual term where a person agrees “their body belongs to” another person. That shit isn’t legal. It’s literally right there in the Constitution of the Taco-eating, gun-shooting, flag-waving U.S. of A. So that knocks this whole goddamn thing out of the park from the get go.
“But Boozy,” I hear you cry through your ballgags, “those are restrictions on what the government can do, not private citizens, and wouldn’t this fall under Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution as well which forbids the government from impairing contracts?”
First, how the fuck do you know about the Contracts Clause of the Constitution? Just who the fuck are you anyhow? Second, no, no it doesn’t.
For one thing, the 13th Amendment is one of the few parts of the Constitution, unlike the 1st Amendment, which is not merely a restriction on government. The 13th Amendment is a restriction on both private individuals and is against the institution of slavery. Now, maybe you think this shit means “involuntary slavery,” but, wouldn’t you know it, there have literally been court cases regarding this matter which have flat out declared: “[The 13th Amendment] was a charter of universal civil freedom for all persons, of whatever race, color or estate, under the flag.” Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219, 241 (1911). So fucking there. Slavery, voluntary or involuntary, which is defined as the “ownership of another person as property (what we lawyers refer to as chattel)” is not legal in the United States, regardless of what you call it or how you phrase it, or however many fucking contracts you sign.
Why Does This Mean The Contract is Unenforceable? Well, any contract that purports to do something illegal or further an illegal end is not fucking enforceable. Those contracts are what we called void ab initio, not valid from the very fucking beginning. These are the contractual abortions of the contract world. This contract is one for bondage, voluntary or involuntary, that treats a person as chattel property of the Master, and therefore has no legal effect from the very fucking beginning. A person cannot be property, assholes.
But let’s take a second and focus on this part:
All of the slave’s possessions likewise belong to the master , including all assets, finances, and material goods, to do with as they see fit.
The lawyer in me just fucking screamed, and screamed loudly, because you just fucking know someone is taking this shit way too seriously and signing over the title to their house and car, or, worse yet, adding their “Master” on their fucking bank accounts. Also, you just know someone is abusing the fuck out of their position as a “Master” to get added onto those accounts. So let me be clear:
Once you fucking transfer title or amend a title to add a person to an asset, they actually fucking legally have an ownership interest in that goddamn property. That part will be legally enforceable, and to invalidate it you’re going to need to hire someone like me…and someone like me requires fucking money. Money you no longer have, because you signed that bank account over to your Master.
Why does that bother me? Because of this shit:
Read that. See how the Master is the only one that can terminate the fucking contract unless the Master first breaches the contract (we’ll get to those in a second)? See how the Master has the absolute fucking authority to keep all of the slave’s shit if the Master decides to terminate the contract? In fact, let’s take a moment to look over some of the Slave’s Rights in the contract:
Oh cool. The Slave has a veto power in four specific circumstances that is unquestioned. That’s good. But let’s take a minute and go through these things:
- Any command that breaks the law, as we discuss, would render an alleged contractual duty to perform fuckin’ void at the start;
- Any contract that would give the Master that much power would be unconscionable from the start (we’ll talk about what the fuck that means in a second);
- You can’t fucking contract to allow injury, for the same fucking reasons you can’t contractually agree to be a slave;
- This one just raises…so many questions about the mental state of the slave and the Master, but we’ll go with unconscionability again.
So any command under those four categories would necessarily invalidate the contractual obligations from the start. The rest of the “veto” power is given as being “as agreed by both master and slave.” Where the Master has to agree, we’re gonna run into that “unconscionability” word again.
Other benefits conferred onto the slave: The Master probably won’t really fuck with you, but let’s unpack this benefit/burden relationship:
The master accepts responsibility of the slave’s body and worldly possessions…
You mean the master’s property and possessions, right? Because remember, under this contract all that shit belongs to the master. So this isn’t a benefit to the slave, it’s a benefit to the master. In fact…everything in that section is a benefit to the master under the contract terms, as everything referenced in there is now property of the master under the auspices of this batshit insane pseudo-legal document. No benefit.
In a future post I’m going to talk about the effect of consent on physical harm and shit, but let me be clear: in the vast majority of states, consent is not a defense to a criminal charge for causing serious injury to another person. As we discussed, where a contract discusses or furthers an illegal goal as a material purpose, regardless of consent, it is void ab initio and not enforceable.
Why Does All That Shit Mean the Contract is Unenforceable? Alright, so there’s this thing called “unconscionability.” That means that the contract and its terms confers so great a benefit on one party and so little of a benefit on the other party that it can, at the discretion of a party, be declared void and unenforceable. Go read the whole damn contract, but focus on how much power does the “slave” have under the agreement versus how much power the Master has. There is literally no benefit conferred to the slave under the terms of the agreement here, while all ostensible benefits that are being conferred are at the sole discretion of the Master or subject to the Master’s approval. That sound one-sided to you? Sure as fuck sounds one-sided to me.
This contract is void from the start. It calls for the allowing of several illegal activities and furthers a material purpose of slavery, an illegal activity under the supreme law of the land, and is therefore void ab initio.
This contract is voidable for unconscionability. The terms of this “agreement” are so one-sided that almost any court, if honestly asked to determine the enforceability of it, would toss the fucker out on the grounds of unconscionability.
This contract, if taken too seriously, can cause real financial harm. If two parties to this agreement were to take this whole thing seriously, a Master could demand to be added to the title or listed as a joint-or-sole owner of the Slave’s property, actually depriving the Slave of anything they own. In a shitty world, a Master could do that, saying it was part of the role play, then “terminate” the contract and waltz off into the sunset to go buy a shit-ton of bondage gear with all of your fucking money.
Why the fuck are we even talking about this?
Boozy’s Real Talk
…there are some fucked up people in the world that take shit too goddamn seriously, and I’m not talking about people who are into this fetish. I’m talking about people, in general.
Last week I talked about SovCits, and that alone should be fucking proof that there are nutjobs out there who will believe this shit is a real and enforceable contract, and will insist it is. Likewise, there are people out there who will be afraid that they’ll lose everything because they wanted to enhance their fantasy roleplay with their partner and their fetish with what appears to be but definitely fucking isn’t an enforceable contract. Because the world is a fucked up place that likes to watch people suffer, these two will connect at some point and somebody is going to end up feeling like they’re trapped in a relationship that goes way fucking past what is acceptable in this fetish because they’re being told it’s a legally enforceable contract.
That is why I’m writing this shit. A fetish is cool, I don’t give a shit what you do, but ignorance of the law can very easily cross the line from “enjoyable fetish that everyone is okay with” to actual fucking abuse, and I feel it’s important to get it out there that the people who are the “slaves” in these relationships are not bereft of their legal rights just because they signed something some guy found on the goddamn internet.
This is by no means a condemnation of the fetish or its participants, and I’m sure (if the furries are any indication) that I’m about to meet a whole fucking lot of you who are going to educate me on the details of your fetish. My inbox is ready.
Just know, these contracts are about as legally enforceable as that note I gave to Tommy in the 5th Grade. I may not have a soul, but it ain’t because he owns it.
It’s because I’m a lawyer.