Saturday, March 08, 2014

Virginia Legislature Unanimously Repeals State's Sodomy Ban

 The Virginia legislature is very closely divided along partisan lines in a purple state that appears to be trending blue but which has been controlled by conservatives (both Republican and Democrat) for  along time. So, it was pretty surprising that legislators in both houses have been able to pass a measure (any measure) unanimously. What was the topic that garnered such unanimity? Repealing the state's archaic Crime Against Nature law which purported to criminalize oral and anal sex among consenting adults (even married ones!) despite the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas which invalidated all such laws across the nation.

Repeal of the statute was necessary because the 4th U.S. Circuit explicitly rejected former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's bizarre notion that the sodomy ban was still able to used to criminalize oral or anal sex between consenting adults.

The Washington Blade reports:
Garrett and others pushing the bill said it was needed because a ruling last year by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond declaring the sodomy statute unconstitutional and unenforceable made it unclear whether prostitution involving oral or anal sex could be prosecuted. 
Others, including former Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, argued that the appeals court ruling, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, would prevent the prosecution of adults seeking to have consensual oral sex with minors between the age of 15 and 18. 
Virginia’s existing criminal code addressing prostitution and non-forcible sex was linked to the sodomy statute, which for years defined sodomy as a criminal felony regardless of whether the sex was between consenting adults in private.
It should be noted that there are several states that still have sodomy laws on the books, more than 11 years after Lawrence struck them all down as unconstitutional: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Hat/tip to Think Progress.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin