Last edited: April 26, 2002


Calendar for July

July 1

1663 — Samuel Pepys notes in his diary that buggery in England is as common as in Italy.

1797 — Congress adopts the Continental Congress’s rules for the U.S. Navy, outlawing "scandalous or immoral conduct."

1968 — The Indiana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction after evidence of "coaching" of the "victim" by the prosecutor.

New laws take effect repealing consensual sodomy laws in Colorado (1972), North Dakota (1975), Washington (1976), Vermont (1977), and Nebraska (1978).

1975 — Colorado lowers its age of consent from 16 to 15.

1997 — California creates an on-line directory of some 64,000 convicted sex offenders, including some Gay men convicted of consensual activity decades ago.

July 2

1761 — English sailors George Newton and Thomas Finney are sentenced to death for consensual sodomy.

1816 — England eliminates the penalty of one hour in the pillory before hanging for sodomy.

1931 — Illinois amends its civil rights disabilities law to permit a pardon of a sodomy conviction to restore rights.

1971 — Oregon becomes the fourth state to decriminalize sodomy, with the passage of its new criminal code.

1997 — The Montana Supreme Court strikes down the state’s felony sodomy law. The law applies only to people of the same sex.

2001 — A Minnesota judge certifies the entire state population as plaintiffs in a challenge to the state sodomy law. Already having invalidated it, this makes the ruling apply statewide.

July 3

1962 — The Florida Supreme Court rules that repeal of a statute in derogation of the common law revives the common-law provision. Since the state recognizes common-law crimes, this means that repeal of the sodomy law will not legalize consensual sodomy.

July 4

1663 — A woman in New Hampshire is sentenced to jail and a flogging for falsely accusing her husband of having sexual relations with her servant boy.

1823 — England allows capital felonies, including sodomy, to be reduced to a lesser penalty.

July 5

1838 — A French appellate court clarifies the law against public indecency as forbidding same-sex acts that "could be the cause of offence to the upright natures of those who could by chance be witness to them."

1843 — Oregon adopts the "Blue Book," a code of laws based on the Iowa Territory Code of 1838. This includes the Michigan law of 1820 adopted by Wisconsin, then was adopted by Iowa. This is despite Oregon’s non-legal status.

1921 — The Florida Supreme Court, interpreting the state’s crime against nature law to include fellatio, says of the Gay men who bring the case as "the creatures who are guilty are entitled to a consideration of their case because they are called human beings."

1963 — Ohio enacts a habitual offender law and lists sodomy and solicitation for an unnatural sex act as crimes for which a person must register.

July 6

1895 — Montana revises its sodomy law so that penetration is sufficient to complete the crime against nature and abrogates common-law crimes.

1920 — The Iowa Supreme Court rules, in no surprise considering the law’s wording, that fellatio violates the state’s sodomy law. Wasting no time in moralizing, it refers to fellatio as "vile and nauseating" only eight words into the opinion, but also rules that only the "suckee" can be prosecuted.

1972 — Delaware passes a new criminal code, becoming the sixth state to repeal its sodomy law.

1976 — The Missouri Court of Appeals overturns a "crime against nature" conviction due to contradictory and inconsistent testimony.

1977 — Missouri passes a new criminal code that reduces the penalty for consensual sodomy from a felony to a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. The law is made applicable only to people of the same sex.

1987 — A Michigan appellate court rules that the fondling of a clothed crotch area of an undercover police officer does not violate the state’s "gross indecency" law.

1992 — An Ohio appellate court upholds the importuning conviction of a man for soliciting a 17-year-old male for sex, saying that, in such cases, a violent response was likely.

1999 — A Missouri appellate court interprets the state’s 1994 sodomy law as requiring acts to be without consent, despite clear wording to the contrary. The Missouri Attorney General requests clarification of the decision, but the court refuses.

2000 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds the state’s sodomy law, specifically rejecting a privacy claim under the state constitution.

July 7

1947 — California requires the registration of anyone convicted of either sodomy or oral copulation.

1949 — Wisconsin prohibits news publicity of the name of victims of sodomy.

1952 — The Maryland Court of Appeals upholds the right of the state to prosecute heterosexual sodomy.

1970 — The Nevada Supreme Court rejects a claim that those under 21 can not be prosecuted for sodomy.

1971 — New Hampshire passes a new criminal code, but does not repeal its sodomy law. It reduces the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor and excludes married couples.

1975 — Connecticut lowers its age of consent from 16 to 15.

July 8

1730 — New Jersey requires a bond to be posted for all sodomites brought into the colony.

1902 — A New York appellate court overturns the sodomy conviction of a man because he was not permitted to introduce character witnesses in his trial.

1932 — The Florida Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because the convicted man was "of high character and good reputation in the community."

1960 — The New York State Court of Appeals upholds the disorderly conduct conviction of a man for loitering for sex. The dissenters believe there is no evidence on which a conviction can stand.

1964 — Delaware repeals its law that prohibited probation in sodomy cases.

1969 — Connecticut becomes the second state to repeal its consensual sodomy law.

1981 — The Oregon Court of Appeals upholds the conviction of a man for public indecency for masturbating in a public restroom while looking for a sexual partner.

July 9

1896 — Louisiana becomes the ninth state to outlaw oral sex. The statute, ironically Act 69 of the term, also eliminates life imprisonment as the penalty.

1943 — The Florida Supreme Court states that the death penalty for sodomy would be constitutional, if the legislature made the decision to change the penalty.

1975 — A New Mexico appellate court rules that married couples can not be prosecuted for sodomy, even though the law (repealed after the case was filed) did not exempt them.

1979 — American Samoa passes a new criminal code that repeals its sodomy law and sets an age of consent of 15.

1986 — Delaware passes a "sexual harassment" law which includes "offensive" solicitation.

July 10

1945 — Ohio establishes a minimum penalty of sodomy of 1 year, retaining the 20-year maximum.

1971 — Austria repeals its sodomy law.

1997 — San Marino, one of the last holdouts in Europe on the issue, repeals its law against sodomy by a vote of 28-21.

July 11

1946 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of three servicemen and a 17-year-old male who procured for them.

1956 — The Maryland State Court of Appeals upholds that state’s "unnatural and perverted practices" law.

1961 — Ohio prohibits solicitation for an "unnatural sex act."

1967 — The Iowa Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction even though the prosecuting witness was labeled by a psychiatrist as incompetent to testify.

1990 — Hong Kong repeals its sodomy law.

1990 — The Isle of Jersey repeals its sodomy law.

2001 — Hawaii raises its age of consent from 14 to 16. The bill passes the legislature over the veto of the Governor, the first time in state history that a veto has been overridden.

July 12

1851 — The New Mexico Territory adopts English common-law crimes, making death for sodomy possible.

1935 — An Oklahoma appellate court rules that cunnilingus is a "crime against nature," the first such decision in the United States.

July 13

1987 — The U.S. Court of Military Appeals overturns the sodomy conviction of Lesbian Joann Newak, saying she received improper counsel.

July 14

1795 — The Legislative Council for the Northwest Territory enacts a law making English common law statutory throughout the territory. This criminalizes sodomy as a capital offense in what is now Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

1953 — The District of Columbia Municipal Court of Appeals reverses the conviction for assault to commit sodomy of a man who was encouraged by an undercover police officer and then arrested by him when he solicited.

1971 — A Texas appellate court overturns the sodomy conviction of men in a public restroom after police conducted surveillance from overhead.

1981 — The District of Columbia passes a new sexual assault law and includes repeal of its consensual sodomy law. This later is overturned by Congress.

1994 — Missouri revises its sex offenses laws. It broadens the sodomy law to include insertion of a finger into the anus and adds a higher penalty for sodomy for "ritual or ceremony," without defining the term. It also accidentally outlaws all sex between unmarried persons of the opposite sex.

July 15

1901 — A police investigative report on the Sharon Hotel in New York City states that it is known in the neighborhood as "Cock Suckers Hall." It has a back room where teenage males sexually service adult men.

1986 — The Missouri Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of that state’s sodomy law with a very hostile opinion.

July 16

1917 — Pennsylvania passes a new law outlawing oral sex, clearing up the confusion as to the constitutionality of its 1879 law.

1917 — Pennsylvania outlaws solicitation to commit sodomy.

1948 — The Nebraska Supreme Court rules that sodomy defendants have the right to challenge the general moral character of the prosecuting witness.

1965 — Michigan permits certain people convicted of sodomy or gross indecency to have their convictions set aside if they had been convicted before age 21.

1975 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rules that the sodomy law can be enforced against consenting adults.

July 17

1837 — A new law in England creates separate crimes of robbery and obtaining money by threat of accusing the victim of "unnatural crime."

1965 — California amends its disorderly conduct law to cover only same-sex "lewdness."

1995 — Country singer Ty Herndon is arrested on indecent exposure charges after he gestured to an undercover police officer and masturbated in his presence when they were alone.

July 18

1990 — A Michigan trial court strikes down the state’s sodomy and gross indecency laws and the state does not appeal. The case is from Detroit, but courts outside of Wayne County do not see the decision as binding on them.

July 19

1728 — A Gay man is arrested in a London restroom after wrongly believing that a straight man he solicited was Gay.

1822 — The Bishop of Clogher is caught with a soldier, John Moverly, in the back room of the White Lion Tavern in London. The Bishop flees England and Moverly is hanged.

1921 — The U.S. Senate publishes a report critical of former Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels and Undersecretary Franklin Roosevelt for their handling of a Gay sex ring at the Newport navy base in 1919.

1943 — The Washington Supreme Court rules that repeal of a statute in derogation of the common law revives the common-law provision. Since the state recognizes common-law crimes, this means that repeal of the sodomy law will not legalize consensual sodomy.

1974 — A California appellate court rejects a First Amendment argument against the solicitation law.

1976 — A California appellate court rejects vagueness and free speech challenges to the state’s lewd loitering law.

July 20

1965 — New York passes a comprehensive criminal code revision, but fails to repeal its sodomy law. It reduces the maximum penalty from 6 months to 3 months in jail and exempts married couples from its coverage.

1971 — An Ohio appellate court upholds the constitutionality of the Ohio sodomy law against a privacy challenge.

July 21

1950 — A California appellate court overturns the oral copulation conviction of a man with a sailor with a broken leg, who claims that he permitted the fellatio only under fear.

1977 — The California Supreme Court overturns the dismissal of a teacher for sex in a restroom. The Court says there is no evidence that his teaching was affected by his sexual conduct with another man.

July 22

1791 — France becomes the first Western nation in the world to repeal its law against sodomy.

1974 — Puerto Rico passes a new criminal code making oral sex illegal only between people of the same sex, but keeping anal sex illegal between people regardless of gender.

July 23

1823 — The Rev. Thomas Jephson is acquitted of attempted sodomy in England. He is the victim of a blackmail plot.

1985 — Louisiana outlaws "promotion" of sex toys, but doesn’t outlaw their use or possession.

July 24

1953 — The Montana Supreme Court rules that a discrepancy in the identity of the sodomy defendant is a matter for the jury to decide.

1984 — A California appellate court upholds contempt citations of a bookstore for continuing to allow "lewd acts" on the premises.

1993 — North Carolina enacts a new criminal sentencing law and lowers the maximum penalty for consensual sodomy from 10 years to three years, keeping it as a felony.

July 25

1868 — The Wyoming Territory is organized by Congress and receives the criminal laws of the Dakota Territory, making sodomy punishable by a compulsory sentence of life imprisonment.

1939 — California denies teacher certificates to anyone convicted of sodomy or oral copulation, even for private, consensual acts.

1952 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upholds a solicitation conviction despite testimony of a "steady girlfriend" and eight character witnesses. The court found compelling the fact that the defendant did not immediately deny guilt upon arrest.

1961 — Ohio is the second state to pass a state Uniform Code of Military Justice that includes sodomy as one of its provisions.

July 26

1881 — New York adopts a new criminal code that abrogates common-law crimes and sets a penalty of 5-20 years for sodomy.

1886 — Mormon Bishop Thomas Taylor is removed from his position in Salt Lake City because of his sexual relations with other males.

July 27

1904 — The Michigan Supreme Court rules that repeal of a law in derogation of the common law does not revive the common-law provision.

1967 — Ten years after the Wolfenden Commission recommended it, the English Parliament repeals the laws against sodomy and "gross indecency." Member of Parliament Margaret Thatcher is one who votes "no."

1978 — New Jersey State Senator Joseph Maressa introduces a bill to reinstate consensual sodomy as a crime, only between people of the same sex. The bill is sponsored by 19 of 40 Senators and is attacked by the media, the Governor, and the Gay and Lesbian community.

July 28

1961 — Illinois is the first state to repeal its sodomy law, adopting the recommendations of the American Law Institute. However, it includes the ALI’s recommendation of a law against loitering for "deviate" purposes, but not for "non-deviate" purposes.

July 29

1797 — Two English sailors are hanged for sodomy following a mutiny.

1892 — Congress passes a law outlawing "lewd and lascivious acts" in the District of Columbia. Since there is no sodomy law in the District, this law must suffice for its prosecution.

1912 — Ohio Governor Judson Harmon commutes Earl Henderson’s 20-year sodomy sentence to 6 years due to "decided uncertainty" of his guilt. This will leave him with two-and-one-half years left in prison, even though he may not have been guilty.

1970 — The Indiana Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction even with evidence of a coerced verdict.

1983 — Oregon repeals its "accosting for deviate purposes" law after it was struck down.

1999 — A Texas appellate court upholds a public indecency conviction for sex in an adult bookstore, rejecting the claim that the audience in the bookstore wouldn’t be offended.

July 30

1840 — The Iowa Territory abrogates all English laws and all laws it received from the Michigan and Wisconsin Territories, thus legalizing sodomy.

1940 — Nazi occupation of the Netherlands extends the German sodomy law there.

1948 — A Pennsylvania legal commentator suggests changes in the handling of "abnormal" sex offenders, including not admitting them to bail at night and excusing all women from juries at their trials.

1949 — Charles Wiggins, 66, is released from the Ohio Penitentiary for sodomy after 20 years. He had been convicted previously and had served 11 years then, for a total of 31 of his 66 years in prison for sodomy.

1960 — France makes the fine for indecent conduct higher if of the same sex than if of the opposite sex.

1965 — Following a court invalidation of its 1961 solicitation law for vagueness, Ohio amends the law to prohibit "solicitation for an act of sex perversion," which will limit its scope to sodomy.

July 31

1722 — In Paris, a duke and a marquis are arrested on charges of trying to seduce another marquis. The duke’s family is outraged.

1928 — The Oregon Supreme Court rules that consensual masturbation of another person violates the state’s sodomy law that prohibits any type of "sexual perversity."

1941 — Paul Latham is driven from the English parliament when Gay offenses of his in the army are publicized.

1958 — A Pennsylvania court rejects a drunkenness defense to a charge of sodomy.

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