Over the objections of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (who is running for governor), yesterday a federal appeals court overturned Virginia’s ban on sodomy.
The majority ruled that Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” anti-sodomy provision is unconstitutional in light of a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating state laws that make sexual activity between consenting adults crimes. “It is shameful that Virginia continued to prosecute individuals under the sodomy statute for 10 years after the Supreme Court held that such laws are unconstitutional,” said Rebecca Glenberg, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. “This ruling should bring an end to such prosecutions,” she added. Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for the Virginia Attorney General’s office, said, “We are reviewing the decision and will consider our options.”
The ruling arose from the conviction of a man who had solicited oral sex from a 17 year-old girl. The appeals court said that the state should prosecute unlawful sex between adults and minors, but that it could not use the “crimes against nature” provision as the basis of a prosecution.