Calendar for July
1663 Samuel Pepys notes in his diary that buggery in
England is as common as in Italy.
1797 Congress adopts the Continental Congresss 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
New laws take effect repealing consensual sodomy laws in
Colorado (1972), North Dakota (1975), Washington (1976), Vermont (1977), and
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.
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 states
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Oregons
1921 The Florida Supreme Court, interpreting the states
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
1895 Montana revises its sodomy law so that penetration
is sufficient to complete the crime against nature and abrogates common-law
1920 The Iowa Supreme Court rules, in no surprise
considering the laws wording, that fellatio violates the states 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
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
states "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 states
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 states
sodomy law, specifically rejecting a privacy claim under the state
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
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.
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.
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.
1946 A California appellate court upholds the oral
copulation conviction of three servicemen and a 17-year-old male who procured
1956 The Maryland State Court of Appeals upholds that
states "unnatural and perverted practices" law.
1961 Ohio prohibits solicitation for an "unnatural
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.
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
1987 The U.S. Court of Military Appeals overturns the
sodomy conviction of Lesbian Joann Newak, saying she received improper
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
1971 A Texas appellate court overturns the sodomy
conviction of men in a public restroom after police conducted surveillance
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.
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
1986 The Missouri Supreme Court upholds the
constitutionality of that states sodomy law with a very hostile opinion.
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
1948 The Nebraska Supreme Court rules that sodomy
defendants have the right to challenge the general moral character of the
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.
1837 A new law in England creates separate crimes of
robbery and obtaining money by threat of accusing the victim of
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.
1990 A Michigan trial court strikes down the states
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.
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 states lewd loitering law.
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
1971 An Ohio appellate court upholds the
constitutionality of the Ohio sodomy law against a privacy challenge.
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
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.
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 doesnt outlaw their use or possession.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
1961 Illinois is the first state to repeal its sodomy
law, adopting the recommendations of the American Law Institute. However, it
includes the ALIs recommendation of a law against loitering for
"deviate" purposes, but not for "non-deviate" purposes.
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
Hendersons 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 wouldnt be offended.
1840 The Iowa Territory abrogates all English laws and
all laws it received from the Michigan and Wisconsin Territories, thus
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
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.
1722 In Paris, a duke and a marquis are arrested on
charges of trying to seduce another marquis. The dukes family is outraged.
1928 The Oregon Supreme Court rules that consensual
masturbation of another person violates the states 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.