Last edited: April 26, 2002


Calendar for August

August 1

1866 — In an Indian medical journal, a doctor writes an article called "Physical Evidences of Sodomy." He says that sodomy is very common in large Indian cities.

1950 — Congress enacts a home rule law for Guam that retains all the extant Naval laws, including the consensual sodomy law.

1952 — A New York judge dismisses the disorderly conduct charge against two men for fondling each other in front of police.

1953 — The New York Times publishes a false ad from the mother of a man wanted for consensual sodomy in Ohio, leading to his entrapment and arrest. The Times opened his letter of response and turned it over to police.

1956 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals rules that emission does not have to be proven in sodomy cases.

August 2

1956 — England reduces the penalty for sodomy from life to 2 years if above the age of consent. Since Vermont operates off English law, this also reduces the penalty in Vermont.

1957 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation convictions of two men for sex in a restroom stall, five years before the California Supreme Court ruled that there was a privacy interest in such stalls.

1963 — Illinois amends its 1961 loitering law to eliminate the discrimination between "deviate" and "non-deviate" purposes.

1968 — A Pennsylvania appellate court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man after the trial court excluded testimony from a psychiatrist and the defendant’s girlfriend that was favorable to him.

1982 — Louisiana adds solicitation of the crime against nature for money a violation of the state’s sodomy law.

August 3

1916 — Irish patriot Roger Casement, 51, is hanged for treason. The world-wide protest against his sentence ends abruptly when his diary documenting his sexual relations with men is released. It is thought that the English government uses the diary to make his death sentence more appealing to the public.

1989 — In Minnesota, State Representative Glen Anderson is arrested for soliciting an undercover policeman for sex. He chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

August 4

1959 — The Montana Supreme Court reaffirms its 1915 decision that fellatio is a "crime against nature." The dissent of Justice Hugh Adair is more than 12,000 words long and is an impassioned plea for the adoption of the common-law definition of sodomy.

August 5

1918 — The Maryland Attorney General issues an opinion to military recruiters that sodomy is an "infamous crime" for which applicants can be kept out of the military.

August 6

1637 — John Allexander and Thomas Roberts are the first men to be prosecuted for "lewd practices tending towards sodomy" in Plymouth. Allexander is branded, flogged, and banished, whereas Roberts only is flogged.

1861 — The death penalty for sodomy is eliminated in England and Wales, with the penalty reduced to life imprisonment. This action also eliminates the death penalty for sodomy in New Mexico and Vermont, since they operate off the English common law.

1868 — Florida reduces the penalty for sodomy from death to 20 years.

1923 — A California appellate court affirms a sodomy conviction following a jury instruction that the act was complete upon any penetration, no matter how slight.

1941 — Pennsylvania eliminates the ban on probation for sodomy.

1973 — A California appellate court upholds the aiding and abetting conviction of a play director because actors engaged in oral copulation in the play.

1975 — The New Hampshire sexual assault reform law, including repeal of the consensual sodomy law, takes effect.

2001 — After the arrest of a judge for exposing himself in a restroom, the Wayne County, Michigan District Attorney announces that similar sex crimes will be prosecuted more restrictively than before.

August 7

1989 — A Michigan appellate court rules that the state’s gross indecency law applies only to nonconsensual activity.

1990 — The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that placing a finger in the rectum does not violate the state’s sodomy law.

August 8

1969 — The Alaska Supreme Court strikes down a portion of the state’s sodomy law because the term "crime against nature" is too vague and overbroad.

August 9

1855 — A Cleveland newspaper reports that two men were found "stripped naked" in a puddle after a rainstorm, then adds sarcastically, "It is supposed they were cleaning out the gutter."

1935 — The Governor of Oregon announces that he will not pardon any convicted sex criminals unless they are sterilized sexually. He also says that, following the lead of Nazi Germany, he will look into expanding the state’s sterilization law.

1963 — A Pennsylvania court finds a man guilty of sodomy even though his alleged victim admitted he lied.

1982 — The Michigan Supreme Court overturns the gross indecency conviction of a man for soliciting an undercover police officer for sex for money. The Court says that a third party would have to be involved in order to allow the conviction to stand.

August 10

1960 — The Oregon Supreme Court overturns a life sentence for sodomy under the indeterminate sentencing law.

1972 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rules that sodomy for hire falls within the bawdy house law.

1978 — New Jersey passes a new criminal code that repeals that state’s sodomy law.

August 11

1894 — The California Supreme Court reverses the sodomy conviction of a man because he has not been told of his right to challenge potential jurors. The Court finds nothing wrong either with his lack of an attorney or a sentence of 41 years in prison.

August 12

1833 — Henry Nichols is hanged in England for sodomy. His entire family abandons him, refusing to see him in prison, and refusing to claim his body.

1898 — England prohibits the solicitation of sexual relations with a male by a male. This is termed "vagrancy" by the law.

1957 — The Wolfenden Commission in England recommends the decriminalization of private, consensual sodomy.

1977 — The Michigan Department of Civil Rights makes a recommendation to repeal the state’s sodomy and gross indecency laws.

August 13

1959 — The Oregon Attorney General issues an opinion that the term "moral degenerates" in the state’s sterilization law should be defined by the sterilization board because of the impossibility of defining it exactly.

August 14

1848 — The Oregon Territory is organized and all laws enacted by the first settlers are retained, thus keeping the Iowa sodomy law and English common law.

1885 — England outlaws "acts of gross indecency" in public or private between males, but not females. This expands the original 1533 buggery statute to include fellatio, frottage, and mutual masturbation.

1929 — The North Dakota Supreme Court reverses a man’s sodomy conviction because prior convictions for the same offense were entered as evidence in the trial.

1935 — Congress outlaws sexual solicitation in the District of Columbia.

1963 — Illinois eliminates the voting disability for those convicted of sodomy.

August 15

1920 — Officials at the Boise City Traction Company catch two men having sex in a restroom, having installed a spy hole from above. The men are convicted of sodomy. Officials had tried to cover the glory hole with wood or metal, but the coverings always "came off."

1921 — A bill in England to outlaw "gross indecency" between women is defeated in the House of Lords on the ground that women do not know of such things. The sponsor of the bill makes the understatement of the year: " is a well-known fact that any woman who indulges in this vice will have nothing whatever to do with the other sex."

1974 — A Florida appellate court overturns an "unnatural and lascivious acts" conviction due to admission of prior acts with a different partner. In this case, a 14-year-old solicited the defendant.

August 16

1893 — A paper by a psychiatrist advocates sexual sterilization of "sexual perverts" who engage in sodomy.

August 17

1932 — The Washington Supreme Court rules that both partners in fellatio can be prosecuted as principals.

1953 — A California appellate court upholds the conviction of two women for sodomy. They were followed into a motel by police.

August 18

1959 — The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the deportation of an alien resident of 39 years for solicitation and says that this is the only part of the New York breach of peace law that makes an alien deportable.

August 19

1953 — George Ammon dies in the Ohio Penitentiary at the age of 87. He has spent 17 years of his 20-year sentence for sodomy. He would have been released at the age of 90.

1960 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reverses the conviction of a man entrapped by police into fondling them and declares that, by using entrapment, the police are attempting to punish the status of being Gay.

August 20

1897 — Wisconsin prohibits fellatio, but not cunnilingus.

1991 — A Michigan appellate court rules that the gross indecency law applies only to nonconsensual acts. In the previous four years, in five cases, appellate courts said the law applied to private activity in two cases and not so in three, making it unclear which was correct.

August 21

1936 — The Washington Supreme Court upholds the right of the prosecution to enter books and pictures into evidence in sodomy trials.

1962 — In Mansfield, one of the most incredible anti-Gay witch hunts begins with camera surveillance of a public restroom. Thirty-eight men are arrested. Every one is sentenced to the maximum of 1-20 years in prison.

August 22

1868 — North Carolina reduces the penalty for sodomy from death to 20-60 years.

August 23

1942 — News of a Gay sex scandal in Albergavenny, England, breaks. Twenty-four men are sent to prison for sodomy.

1990 — A Michigan appellate court upholds the applicability of the gross indecency law to private, consensual activity, in conflict with several other appellate courts in the state.

August 24

79 — The eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroys Pompeii and Herculaneum. One of the unexpected finds in its excavation is Gay graffiti such as "On this spot Auctus copulated with Quintius."

August 25

1983 — The U.S. Trust Territories (now known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) passes a new criminal code that repeals its sodomy law.

August 26

1658 — Nicholas Hillebrantsen is arrested on a sodomy charge in New Netherland Colony, but the disposition of his case is unknown.

1985 — The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a trial court and appellate panel’s decisions that the Texas "homosexual conduct" law was unconstitutional.

August 27

1873 — Arkansas lowers the penalty for sodomy from death to 5-21 years. This is the last death law for sodomy in the nation.

1947 — The Washington Post editorializes in favor of an expanded sodomy law for the District of Columbia, complaining that the city had become "more or less a haven for sexual perverts and degenerates."

1987 — An Ohio appellate court upholds the public indecency conviction of two men for sex in a closed stall of a public restroom solely because they had not locked the door.

August 28

1857 — England passes a divorce law allowing a wife to divorce her husband, but not vice versa, because he engaged in sodomy.

1888 — The Minnesota Supreme Court rules that the state does not recognize common-law crimes.

1894 — A Portland newspaper reports the arrest of a man for sodomy with a committed partner. The two had been reported to police by a neighbor.

1974 — A federal court in Wisconsin rejects a vagueness challenge to the state’s sodomy law.

August 29

1918 — The California Supreme Court upholds the 1915 fellatio and cunnilingus law over the contention that the Latin terms violate the state’s constitutional requirement that laws be written in English.

1922 — The Washington Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction based only on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice.

1996 — A Texas appellate court overturns the conviction of a man for masturbating in a closed, locked restroom stall.

August 30

1969 — California amends its disorderly conduct law to eliminate the same-sex-only discrimination in the "lewd conduct" provision.

August 31

1984 — A Louisiana appellate court upholds the conviction of a man for solicitation of an undercover police officer who was wired for sound and had the solicitation recorded.

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