10 years after the US Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in Texas, and effectively across United States, 17 states still have these laws on the books. The Washington Blade reports:
Laws that make it a crime for consenting adults to engage in sodomy remain on the books in 17 states and continue to be enforced in several of those states 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional… According to LGBT activists and gay rights attorneys, most of the cases in which police and prosecutors enforce sodomy or “crime against nature” statutes involve marginalized groups such as transgender sex workers or gay men arrested by undercover police officers for engaging in or soliciting sex in parks or other public places.
According to the Blade, the states which still have sodomy laws on the books are:
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas*, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana*, North Carolina, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, Texas*, Utah and Virginia.
The asterisks indicate states where sodomy laws apply only to gays. Montana is still technically on this list, but the state’s Governor plans to sign a repeal of the law today.
Down in Texas, a bill to repeal that state’s sodomy law just passed out of committee on a 5 to 0 vote. Towleroad reports:
SB 538 would repeal S21.06 of the Penal Code, the Homosexual Conduct Law, which was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision. The bill would also amend the Health and Safety Code to delete the statement that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under S21.06, Penal Code.”
Surprisingly, very gay friendly Maryland, which just recently approved marriage equality by a public vote, still has a sodomy law on the books. The Washington Blade reports:
Gay and lesbian residents of Maryland may be surprised to learn that while their state approved a law last year that allows them to marry, it has yet to repeal an antiquated law that classifies their intimate sexual relations as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. LGBT activists may also be surprised that only one of the eight openly gay members of the Maryland General Assembly confirmed to the Washington Blade that she would introduce legislation to repeal the state’s sodomy law. “I definitely would introduce it,” said Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), who is one of five out lesbians serving in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Why didn’t the others bother to respond?