John M. Becker

Virginia Finally Repeals Ban on Oral, Anal Sex

Filed By John M. Becker | March 06, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: elections matter, Ken Cuccinelli, sodomy, sodomy ban, sodomy law, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia

virginia-is-for-lovers.gifSexually active residents and law dorks of the Old Dominion, rejoice: the state of Virginia is finally getting around to repealing its outdated sodomy law. Soon, there will no longer be a law on the books prohibiting non-reproductive sexual acts like oral and anal intercourse.

Today, all 100 members of the Virginia House of Delegates voted to green-light SB 14, a repeal measure that passed the state Senate last month (also unanimously, in a 40-0 vote). The bill now goes to Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who will sign it into law.

Of course, Virginia's sodomy law has been invalid since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas ruling struck down state laws prohibiting consensual, non-commercial, private sexual acts between adults. Virginia's sodomy ban -- the "Crimes Against Nature" statue, which was so strict that it even criminalized oral sex between married couples -- clearly fell under the scope of the ruling. But as Think Progress's Josh Israel points out, Republicans who controlled the state legislature resisted all efforts to formally repeal the now-unenforceable law.

Leading the crusade to block the repeal effort and preserve Virginia's sodomy law as a memorial to intolerant days gone by was then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli, who later went on to become the state's attorney general. As AG, and during his ill-fated campaign for governor, Cuccinelli expended lots of time and energy unsuccessfully defending the law in court. (He ran for governor while fighting against oral sex -- is it any wonder that he lost?)

While Virginia is on the cusp of doing away with this ludicrous law, a handful of other states still have unenforceable sodomy bans on the books, including Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, both Carolinas, Utah, and Texas.

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