Despite the landmark Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas case that invalidated anti-sodomy laws and, therefore, essentially made sodomy legal, there are still 14 states in the country where sodomy is on the books as “illegal,” plus an additional four where sodomy is illegal only if you’re gay.
“Texas isn’t the only state that’s still legislating bedroom activity,” Tim Murphy wrote at Mother Jones last year. “Fourteen states currently have laws on the books outlawing anal sex between two consenting, unrelated adults—referred to variously as ‘deviate sexual conduct,’ ‘the infamous crime against nature,’ ‘sodomy,’ and ‘buggery. And it’s taken a concerted effort to keep those laws on the books. Since Lawrence, efforts to formally repeal laws in Montana, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, North Carolina, and, most notably, Texas have all faced resistance before fizzling out in their respective state legislatures. Conservatives in those states know they can’t enforce the laws, but by keeping them in the code, they can send a message that homosexuality is officially condemned by the government.”
Andrew Sullivan on Thursday offered two short related clips which are worth the quick read, including Barry Deutsch’s:
For me, the fact that Lawrence and Garner hadn’t actually been having sex when they were arrested perfectly illustrates the real meaning of anti-sodomy laws. The cops didn’t really witness any sex going on, but they did recognize that the men were gay, and that was reason enough for the cops to arrest the men. This is sodomy laws at their most pure: It’s not about stopping sex, it’s about criminalizing existing while homosexual.
And that’s exactly the problem: The radical right — which isn’t that many people, but they are the ones who hold the power — still believe we are criminals and sinners. Because their Bibles tell them we are.
Image via Mother Jones
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