This week, New Jersey made bestiality illegal — but incest between adults remains entirely OK under state law.

A bill to ban incest has sat quietly before the state Senate and Assembly judiciary committees without getting much attention since February.

It's been largely off the radar — much like the omission in New Jersey law that has made incest legal since 1979.

Media and legislators took note in January, when New York Magazine ran article about an unnamed 18-year-old who said she planned to move to New Jersey and live as a married couple with her father. Under New Jersey law they couldn't have legally married, and didn't plan to.

Within days of the article's publication, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) said she'd introduce legislation to bar incest.

"Obviously, these types of relationships violate our acceptable moral standards and should be banned," she said at the time.

She doesn't have any opposition on that front from the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, John F. McKeon (D-Morris). But he told New Jersey 101.5 he hadn't gotten a letter or otherwise heard from Angelini asking for the legislation to be put on the committee's agenda.

"Incest as a matter of course is just repugnant and against the mores of civilized society as we all know it to be," McKeon said. It may not have been a priority item for his committee, he said, but "it's a T that we should cross, no question."

The bill and an identical Senate version introduced by Sens. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Michael Doherty (R-Warren) would make it a third-degree crime to marry or commit an act of sexual penetration with a blood relative including a parent or child, brother or sister, including half-siblings, or an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

Penalties would include a prison term of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

McKeon said although "I don't think New Jersey is the haven for those involved in these sorts of relationships," tightening up the law seemed like a good idea. But he said he suspects most adults in consensual, incestuous relationships — "even if it's just one in 100,000 people" — likely keep them quiet.

New Jersey hasn't formally banned incest among adults since 1979, when the state revised its criminal code and left a section for incest blank, Peter Gilbreth, a Morristown-based attorney who handles both criminal and family cases, told New Jersey Advance Media in January.

It remains illegal for an adult to have sex with related 16-year-old or 17-year-old. Those standards remain stricter than those for other sexual relationships, in which 16 is the age of consent so long as the older party doesn't have supervisory authority over the younger one.

Calls to Beck and Angelini, as well as to Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Middlesex), chair of the senate's judiciary committee, hadn't yet been returned.

Note: Louis C. Hochman, the author of this article, wrote the cited New Jersey Advance Media piece during his prior employment with that company.