11 Years After Mandated By US Supreme Court, Alabama Court Strikes Down Anti-Sodomy Law

 
 

On Friday an Alabama appeals court ruled the state’s ban on consensual same-sex intercourse unconstitutional. Prompted by the conviction of a man in 2010 and his subsequent yearlong incarceration, this decision (Dewayne Williams v. State of Alabama) comes 11 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all anti-sodomy laws in the United States unconstitutional in the case Lawrence v. Texas.

By the time of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, all but 14 states had removed their bans through legislative or judicial action. Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling, Alabama is only the third state whose statute was overturned with the case to actually remove the anti-sodomy law from the books, along with Montana and Virginia.

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Last year, the arrest of 12 men in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, attracted national attention. The incident substantiated claims that police were using the existing statute to target gay men for persecution, despite it being a clear violation of federal law. The district attorney refused to prosecute the man, saying the law was unenforceable, and the case was dropped. Nonetheless, moves to formally repeal the ban have since beendefeated.

States that still retain their anti-sodomy laws are Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

James McDonald is a Brooklyn-native currently based in Scotland. When not pouring through the letters of Mary, Queen of Scots in pursuit of an MLitt Scottish History degree at the University of Glasgow, you’ll find him typing away. To date, his writing has been featured in Haaretz, the Huffington Post, the Lambda Literary Review, Gayletter, Thought Catalog and The Outmost, with more (hopefully) on the way. Follow him@jamesian7