Virginia Repeals Unconstitutional Sodomy Ban


Virginia’s House of Delegates on Thursday unanimously passed in a 100 to 0 vote a bill that would eliminate the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy that criminalized oral and anal sex since 1950, ThinkProgress reports. Previously approved by the Virginia state senate in a similar unanimous vote, the bill now awaits Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s signature or veto. 

The statute in question, Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, technically should have been made defunct after the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas which found that the state could not infringe on the rights of adult individuals to have consensual sex. However, many Republican legislators in Virginia, including former gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, fought to keep it in place. The sodomy ban was battered in the courts and the Supreme Court made sure to keep clear of the case. Court rulings have also caused additional complications for those backing the law:

Last year, the federal courts overturned the conviction of a man charged, under Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, of soliciting a 17-year-old female for oral sex — a felony under the statute. Because that law — first enacted in 1950 to prohibit oral and anal sex, as well as bestiality — had not been updated, the court ruled it was unenforceable, putting the convictions of other sexual offenders and child predators at risk.

In response, Sen. Thomas A. Garrett (R) filed a bill in December that would have eliminated the ban on adult consensual sodomy, but would have made oral sex between 17-year-olds a felony, even if they were legally married. After ThinkProgress reported on this possibly unintended consequence, Garrett and the Senate Courts of Justice Committee agreed on a substitute version that generally treats all sex equally.

More than a decade after the Lawrence decision, several other states still have sodomy bans on the books, including Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.


  1. Tone says

    Back in the 1960’s Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau famously said that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation as his first administration wiped our antiquated sodomy laws off the books. Glad to see that nearly half a century later our neighbors to the south are catching up!

  2. says

    Somewhere tonite with tears streaming down his face the Cooch is trying to prepare his bunghole. Cause you know since there are no more laws against sodomy and gay marriage is coming (no pun intended) to Virginia the homosexualists have declared themselves the supreme law of the land and he’s gotta participate. He’s got no choice. He’ll be forced to do gay stuff. That was the warning of doom he peddled.

    Put down the lipstick & negligee, put the lid back on the vaseline. Take off that silly wig. Wipe your tears and go get dressed for work. Scratch that work part. But get ready to face the day. The sun is still shining. Your world didn’t crash and burn because gays can get married. It was never going to. It was always just in your mind.

  3. Peter says

    We are winning the war here in Virginia but there are still the bible-thumping politicians and preachers that we have to defeat here. They will not stop fighting us.

  4. anon says

    So, they just rewrote the law to keep sex offender offenses on the books because otherwise pedophilia would have been legalized. Got it.

    Keep in mind that old laws remain on the books after getting struck down by the courts (and in NY they are still enforced!–It’s called an affirmative defense–but sorry you still had to go to trial) for a variety of reasons, mostly due to how the separation of powers prevents the courts from rewriting laws directly and political cowardice on the part of legislatures, but also in the hazy hope the ruling will be overturned someday and the law restored.

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