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    Michigan Senate Passes Bill Saying Sodomy Is A Felony Punishable By 15 Years in Prison

    Lawmaker Says Removing Sodomy Ban Would Kill An Important Animal Protection Bill

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    The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that effectively reaffirms the state's unconstitutional law making sodomy a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

    Michigan is one of more than a dozen states that still have sodomy bans on the books, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas declaring them unconstitutional.

    Some states' sodomy laws specifically target gay relations, but Michigan's is among those that make oral and anal sex crimes illegal regardless of whether they're same-sex or different-sex. Michigan is also one of several states with a sodomy ban that's intertwined with a prohibition on bestiality – effectively equating the two. The law makes it a felony for anyone to commit "the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal." If the person is already a sex offender, violations are punishable by life in prison. 

    For the last several years, Michigan legislators have been trying to pass an important package of bills referred to as Logan's Law, designed to keep pets out of the hands of animal abusers, according to The Detroit Free Press. Among the bills in the Logan's Law package — named for a Siberian husky who died tragically after acid was intentionally poured on him — is Senate Bill 219, by GOP Sen. Rick Jones. In addition to barring convicted animal abusers from owning pets for five years, SB 219 would update language in the state's ban on bestiality and sodomy as follows: 

     Screen_Shot_2016-02-05_at_3.13.09_PM.png

    SB 219 passed the Senate Thursday, with the above language intact, and is expected to be considered by the House as early as next week. 

    This might seem like a great opportunity to finally remove the unconstitutional sodomy ban from the books, by simply striking the words "either with mankind or" from SB 219. However, Sen. Jones told The New Civil Rights Movement that such an amendment would jeopardize the whole bill. 

    Rick_Jones.jpg

    "The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing. It’ll be done," Jones (photo, above) said. "Nobody wants to touch it. I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen. You’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional."

    Jones added that he believes the only way to repeal the sodomy ban would be a bill striking all unconstitutional laws from the state's books. 

    "But if you focus on it, people just go ballistic," he said. "If we could put a bill in that said anything that’s unconstitutional be removed from the legal books of Michigan, that’s probably something I could vote for, but am I going to mess up this dog bill that everybody wants? No."

     

    This article has been updated to reflect the bill's proper timeline.

     

    Image by Michigan Municipal League via Flickr and a CC license 

     

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