Sodomy is anal copulation by a man inserting his penis in the anus of another man or woman. If accomplished against the will of one of the people involved, sodomy is a felony in all states in the same way that rape is, although some states have a separate law governing illegal sodomy. Sodomy between consenting adults has been found a felony in the past, but increasingly it is either decriminalized or seldom prosecuted. However, if one of the partners is underage, it is still a crime as a form of statutory rape.
What Is the Status of Sodomy Laws Today?
Traditionally sodomy was called a "crime against nature" and by the mid 1900's sodomy was illegal in every U.S. state. Since then, laws have moved away from religious doctrine and the punishment for consensual sodomy has become either less severe or even non-existent. Presently, the list of states that have overturned their decisions is growing.
- States That prohibit sodomy: Alabama,
Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia
- States that prohibit sodomy between same-sex couples only: Kansas,
Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas
In June 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that sodomy laws were unconstitutional, thus granting gays the constitutional right to sexual privacy in the bedroom between consenting adults.
What Effect Do Sodomy Laws Have on Gay Couples?
In states where the act of sodomy itself or as between gay couples is prohibited, gay couples are forced to hide their relationship for fear of committing a crime. Thus, it provides an additional stigma which heterosexual couples do not normally face in such states.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you are charged with the crime of sodomy, it is a very serious matter and you need legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will fight for your interests and help you through the complicated legal system.