Last edited: March 04, 2002


Calendar for March

March 1

1642 — In Plymouth, Edward Michell and Edward Preston are found guilty of "lewd and sodomitical practices" for engaging in frottage. Both are flogged.

1656 — New Haven Colony makes sexual relations between women a capital offense. This is the only of the English colonies to do so.

1665 — After a temporary takeover of New Netherland by the English, the governor of what is now called New York issues a proclamation making sodomy a capital crime. The law also covers New Jersey.

1780 — Pennsylvania eliminates the discrimination in its sodomy law between whites and blacks.

1902 — Puerto Rico passes its first criminal code as a U.S. possession. It outlaws sodomy with a possible life sentence and abrogates common-law crimes.

1955 — The Arizona Supreme Court upholds a sentence of 60-100 years in prison for 20 counts of consensual sodomy.

1965 — The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the Louisiana sodomy law.

1969 — Jim Morrison is arrested in Miami for obscenity after his on-stage performance of pretending to fellate his guitarist, and then allegedly exposing himself to the audience.

March 2

1799 — Congress adopts a law to "suppress all dissolute, immoral, and disorderly practices" on Naval ships.

1853 — The Washington Territory is created and given all laws of Oregon. Since Oregon doesn’t have a sodomy law, Washington doesn’t get one, either.

1895 — The legal case of Oscar Wilde begins with the arrest of the Marquess of Queensberry on criminal libel charges for having accused Wilde of being a sodomite. Through three trials the truth of the charge comes out and Wilde is convicted of "gross indecency" and sent to prison for two years.

1931 — An Ohio appellate court upholds a sodomy conviction based on the "overwhelming" evidence of guilt: the accused placed his hand on his head, asked for water, and began perspiring.

1943 — The Florida Supreme Court upholds a cunnilingus conviction under the crime against nature law.

1955 — Arkansas lowers the minimum penalty for sodomy from 5 years to one year. The law is passed as an emergency measure with the emergency clause stating that juries have been unwilling to convict under such a severe law.

1965 — The Florida Court of Appeals overturns a sodomy conviction because the defendant’s dishonorable discharge for being Gay was raised in the trial to bias the jury.

1967 — The Washington Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law, saying that the law is necessary for the public welfare.

1982 — The Texas Court of Appeals overturns the lewdness conviction of a man for being fondled by another.

March 3

1785 — Massachusetts revises its sodomy law and rewords it so that it applies only to two males.

1849 — The Minnesota Territory is created and receives all the laws of Wisconsin, setting the sodomy penalty at 1-5 years.

1886 — New York amends its sodomy law to include oral sex.

1901 — The District of Columbia receives a new criminal code from Congress. Sodomy is not mentioned, but common-law crimes specifically are recognized, with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

1973 — Two California police officers have a shootout in a restroom after one attempts to arrest the other for "an act of oral copulation.

1975 — Arkansas passes a new criminal code that repeals the state’s sodomy law, making it the first state in the South to do so. The repeal doesn’t last; the law is reinstated two years later.

March 4

1903 — In a prosecution for consensual sodomy in New York, two men are listed in the indictment as having assaulted each other.

1904 — The Georgia Supreme Court interprets the state’s "crime against nature" law to include fellatio. It claims that the reason for the 1817 English case with the opposite conclusion was that fellatio "was not known to the law then.

1909 — Congress passes the Assimilative Crimes Act which makes any act done on federal property within a state a federal crime if the state has a law against it. This makes sodomy a crime only on federal property located within states.

1955 — New Mexico amends its "crime against nature" law to cover oral sex.

1996 — The California Supreme Court rules that Gay men selectively prosecuted for solicitation can challenge their prosecution.

March 5

1842 — Florida passes a sodomy law with a mandatory sentence of death.

1904 — In Ohio, a man is sent to the State Reformatory for being the victim of a sexual assault. He spends two years there.

1927 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a gas station operator who violently resisted arrest.

1954 — A new criminal code in Greenland decriminalizes consensual sodomy, but creates a discriminatory age of consent.

1957 — The West Virginia Supreme Court reverses a sodomy conviction for committing cunnilingus because of lack of proof of actual penetration.

1970 — A federal court in Tennessee upholds the state’s crime against nature law solely because it was unaware of any other court that had struck one down, even though courts in Alaska and Texas had.

1971 — A New Mexico appellate court upholds a sentence of life imprisonment for sodomy under the state’s Indeterminate Sentencing Act.

1985 — The North Carolina Court of Appeals upholds that state’s loitering law and rejects a claim that it discriminates in favor of Gay men.

March 6

1649 — Mary Hammon and Sara Norman of Plymouth are tried for "lewd and unclean practices with one another." Hammon is acquitted, but Norman is convicted. Norman is required to "make public acknowledgement of her unchaste behavior."

1717 — The English sodomy law is interpreted by a court to include heterosexual activity.

1852 — The Utah Territory passes a criminal code without a sodomy law, thus legalizing it.

1928 — The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the right of the state to obtain sodomy convictions based on the uncorroborated testimony of partners.

March 7

1811 — Ensign John Hepburn and drummer Thomas White are hanged for consensual sodomy by the English Navy before "a vast concourse of spectators" including nobles.

1899 — New Hampshire amends its sodomy law to prohibit all "unnatural and lascivious acts," to include oral sex.

1921 — The Washington Supreme Court overturns an earlier decision and rules that an "attempt" to commit sodomy necessarily constitutes an "assault" to commit it.

1934 — The Soviet Union reinstates consensual sodomy as a crime, with a penalty of up to five years in prison, if with consent, and eight years at hard labor, if without.

March 8

1945 — A Georgia appellate court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man whose lead counsel was ill and absent from the trial for a while.

1969 — Utah lowers the penalty for sodomy from a felony to a misdemeanor.

1972 — Due to Mormon Church pressure, the Idaho legislature repeals the state’s 1971 criminal code revision, effective April 1, but passes no replacement code at this time, leaving the legislature to work against the clock to pass a new code.

1973 — Utah passes a new criminal code. It retains the misdemeanor sodomy law, but exempts married couples from its coverage.

1990 — The Georgia Supreme Court rejects an argument of selective enforcement of the state’s sodomy law.

March 9

1893 — Just 19 days after the Washington Supreme Court pointed out the lack of a sodomy law, the Washington legislature passes a specific sodomy law. Governor John Harte McGraw allows it to become law without his signature. The penalty is set at 10-14 years.

1904 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturns a sodomy conviction because penetration had not been proven.

1954 — The U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia upholds a sodomy conviction after holding the defendant’s post-arrest silence against him.

1956 — Georgia prohibits parole to anyone convicted of sodomy who has any "mental, moral or physical impairment which would render release unadvisable."

1972 — The Montana Constitutional Convention defeats a proposal to protect consenting adult sexual activity in the Bill of Rights by a vote of 69-16, with 15 not voting. The purpose of the measure is to prohibit criminal prosecution of consenting homosexuals.

1981 — A Maryland appellate court upholds the right of the prosecution to introduce a 25-year-old sodomy conviction against a defendant for purposes of impeaching credibility.

March 10

1778 — Lieutenant Frederick Enslin is drummed out of the army for attempted sodomy on a fellow soldier. His commanding officer is George Washington.

1845 — Florida prohibits anyone convicted of sodomy from being a witness in a trial, even though the state has a compulsory death penalty, meaning that anyone convicted isn’t likely to be around to testify.

1910 — The Nebraska Supreme Court rules that the "crime against nature" does not include oral sex.

1938 — A California appellate court rules that intoxication is no defense to a charge of sodomy.

1958 — The Montana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because penetration had not been proven.

1976 — The Arizona Supreme Court reverses a lower court ruling and upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law.

March 11

1647 — In England, Domingo Drago, a colonial black, is accused of "buggery" with William Wraxall, a "boy."

1839 — Wisconsin adopts its own criminal code, and sets the penalty for sodomy at 1-5 years, less severe than the Michigan law it had received when organized by Congress in 1836.

1869 — A cartoon in a Vienna newspaper comments on Gay cruising in public parks.

1903 — Pennsylvania becomes the second state to permit a divorce if one spouse commits the "crime against nature."

1955 — The Tennessee Supreme Court reaffirms its 1943 decision that fellatio violates the state’s "crime against nature" law, but this time publishes its opinion.

1961 — A committee of the New Mexico Senate kills the proposed criminal code revision that would have repealed the state’s consensual sodomy law.

1976 — West Virginia passes a new sexual offenses law and repeals its sodomy law, although it retains common-law crimes.

1982 — Wyoming abrogates common-law crimes, five years after repealing its sodomy law.

1994 — The Fifth Circuit rules that a priest can not sustain invasion of privacy damages for release of a videotape of him engaging in sexual relations with another male.

1996 — The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law.

March 12

1890 — An Ohio newspaper publicizes the suicide of a married man who had taken another man he met in a bar back to his hotel room. A letter in his pocket from his wife complains that she hadn’t heard from him.

1965 — The Minnesota Supreme Court rejects intoxication as a sodomy defense.

1976 — The Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that the state’s sodomy law does not apply to married couples, even though there is no statutory exemption for them.

March 13

1944 — An Ohio appellate court rules that cunnilingus does not violate the state’s unusually worded sodomy law. This ruling also apparently affects Iowa, Nebraska and Texas, since they copied Ohio’s law.

1954 — Kentucky enacts a Uniform Code of Military Justice, and it copies the federal code’s sodomy provision, the first in the nation to include a sodomy law.

1975 — The U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania halts surveillance of public restrooms from overhead holes without a warrant.

March 14

1848 — Virginia changes the penalty for sodomy to 1-5 years for free persons and keeps the death penalty for slaves.

1878 — Virginia raises the minimum penalty for sodomy from 1 to 2 years.

1890 — Wyoming amends its sodomy law to prohibit fellatio, but not cunnilingus. The maximum penalty for sodomy also is reduced from life to 5 years.

1955 — The Colorado Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction and says the psychopathic offender law is optional with sentencing judges. The defendant wished to be declared such, but the court said that only "dangerous" offenders were. Despite not being "dangerous," he received 2-6 years in prison.

1962 — The Arizona Supreme Court upholds the fellatio conviction of a man with a teenage male. He acknowledged being Gay and said that the arresting police might be, too.

1963 — Nevada prohibits the release of anyone convicted under the "crime against nature" law unless certified by psychiatrists as not harmful to the health, safety or morals of others.

1990 — The Idaho Court of Appeals finds a privacy interest in sex in enclosed restroom stalls.

March 15

1820 — Maine enters the Union and receives the Massachusetts sodomy law.

1963 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a man who stopped in a restroom for "relief sexually" while "waiting to pick up his wife." He said he’d done this several times before.

2001 — A Texas appellate court upholds that state’s consensual sodomy law.

March 16

1679 — New Hampshire outlaws sodomy between men only, with a sentence of death.

1805 — Massachusetts reduces the penalty for sodomy from death to 20 years, but retains the language making the law applicable only to two males.

1855 — Nebraska passes a criminal code, receiving all of the laws of Iowa, which does not have a sodomy law, but also adopting all English common-law crimes, making sodomy a capital offense in the territory.

1961 — The Maryland Court of Appeals upholds a sodomy conviction based on an indictment for "buggery," a word not found in the state’s criminal code.

1970 — Kentucky repeals the sodomy provision of its state UCMJ.

1976 — The Mississippi Supreme Court upholds the state’s crime against nature law against a vagueness challenge.

1987 — A Louisiana appellate court upholds the solicitation conviction of a man for placing his finger through a glory hole in a bookstore and then placing his mouth at the hole, without saying a word.

March 17

1921 — In the Virgin Islands, the communities of St. Thomas and St. John pass a sodomy law with a penalty of up to 10 years, thus going off the Danish law.

March 18

1796 — New Jersey passes its first sodomy law in nearly a century and eliminates the death penalty. The maximum sentence is set at 21 years at solitary and hard labor. The law still applies only to males.

1916 — Virginia outlaws oral sex between persons of the same sex only, while retaining anal sex as a crime between persons regardless of sex.

1941 — A California appellate court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man. The corroborative evidence was a tube of vaseline "similar" to the one his partner claimed was used.

1964 — Georgia allows the reduction of felony sentences for sodomy to a misdemeanor.

1971 — Idaho adopts a new criminal code, repealing its sodomy law and abrogating common-law crimes. The repeal doesn’t last long due to religious opposition.

1994 — A Florida appellate court overturns a sex conviction for acts in closed restroom stalls, finding a right to privacy therein.

March 19

1860 — Virginia’s new sodomy law eliminates death for slaves, equalizing the penalty for all persons.

1895 — North Dakota becomes the eighth state to amend its sodomy law explicitly to cover oral sex.

1925 — The Virginia Supreme Court reverses the sodomy conviction of a man who had been found drunk in bed with his head on another man’s stomach and with the other man’s penis in his hand.

1929 — The Florida Supreme Court rules that emission is not needed to complete sodomy.

1973 — The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that the state’s sodomy law can not be enforced against married couples, even though the statute does not exempt them.

1981 — A Massachusetts appellate court dismisses a newspaper’s suit to allow reporters to witness restroom arrests.

March 20

1835 — Missouri outlaws consensual sodomy by statute, with a penalty of not less than 10 years and no maximum stated.

1858 — Tennessee adopts a new criminal code and changes the wording of its sodomy law, but leaves the penalty as 5-15 years.

1905 — Delaware eliminates the pillory as a punishment for crime. Since 1852, those convicted of sodomy have been required to stand in the pillory for one hour prior to imprisonment.

1924 — Virginia, responding to the Virginia Supreme Court decision of the preceding year, amends its oral sex provision of the sodomy law to include people of the opposite sex as well.

1957 — The Illinois Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of an optometrist with a male patient after very conflicting witness testimony.

1979 — The North Carolina Court of Appeals rules that the "crime against nature" law applies to heterosexuals.

March 21

1801 — New York raises the maximum penalty for sodomy from 10 years to life imprisonment.

1804 — The Code Napoléon is introduced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Monaco, maintaining the "hands-off" attitude of the government toward private, consensual sexual relations.

1806 — Pennsylvania denies bail to accused sodomites.

1893 — English Member of Parliament Edward Cobain is convicted of gross indecency and is sentenced to 12 months at hard labor.

1969 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upholds the trial without a jury of solicitation to commit fellatio.

March 22

1909 — Washington passes a new criminal code and broadens its sodomy law to cover oral sex, prohibits newspaper description of crimes of sodomy, and repeals its slander law cover accusations of sodomy.

1929 — Nebraska outlaws assault to commit sodomy, with a penalty of 2-15 years.

March 23

1653 — In New Haven Colony, six teenage males are sentenced to be flogged for "wickedness in a filthy corrupting way with one another."

1661 — Virginia adopts all English laws explicitly, thus making sodomy clearly illegal.

1819 — Illinois enacts its own sodomy law, providing for a fine and imprisonment, and retaining the flogging provision it had received from Indiana.

1921 — The Hawaii Supreme Court rules that emission is not necessary for the completion of an act of sodomy.

1927 — A California appellate court upholds the constitutionality of the 1921 law banning oral sex.

1951 — Nevada establishes a minimum penalty for the crime against nature of one year, but retains the maximum of life imprisonment.

1953 — The Arizona Supreme Court rules that fellatio can not be prosecuted under the crime against nature law, but must be prosecuted under the unnatural and lascivious acts law.

1964 — The Colorado Supreme Court rules that sodomy convictions can be based on the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice.

1995 — The Montana Senate votes 50-0 to delete a provision from a sex offender registration bill for consensual sodomy to be included, after overwhelming public opposition. Sponsor Senator Al Bishop (R-Billings) calls consensual homosexual activity worse than rape.

March 24

1882 — West Virginia passes a law to raise the penalties for various consensual sexual activities, claiming that the penalties are not severe enough to deter immorality. Sodomy is one of the few crimes for which the penalty is not changed.

1911 — California forbids the conviction of any person based on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice, a law that benefits Gay men and Lesbians prosecuted for private, consensual sodomy.

1939 — Georgia bans probation for sodomy.

1953 — A California appellate court upholds a conviction for assault to commit oral copulation. A hitchhiker was picked up and solicited, but he refused and was let out of the car.

1989 — Montana enacts a sex offender registration law that covers consensual sodomy and gives a judge the power to limit the employment opportunities of those subject to the law.

March 25

1734 — A Georgia man receives 300 lashes for sodomy in a religious colony. No law authorizes the penalty.

1938 — A California appellate court overturns a sodomy conviction based on hearsay evidence. The "evidence" was merely that the defendant owned a Turkish bath where sodomy was presumed to take place.

1940 — The Indiana Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction after the trial judge refused to allow all of the defendant’s character witnesses to testify.

1953 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals rules that the state’s lewdness law covers same-sex activity.

1963 — New Mexico passes a new criminal code, but does not repeal its sodomy law. The sentence is set at 2-10 years and/or $5,000.

1993 — Idaho enacts a sex offender registration law that includes consensual sodomy.

March 26

1796 — New York reduces the penalty for sodomy from death to ten years in prison.

1892 — Iowa outlaws sodomy, leaving it legal only in the District of Columbia. The law states that it will become effective upon publication in the two Des Moines newspapers, giving the papers a veto power over the law if they fail to print it. Both print it without delay.

1926 — The Puerto Rico Supreme Court rules that the "crime against nature" does not have to be only between persons of the same sex.

1991 — Montana enacts a law stating that a person’s seeking treatment for HIV-related disease can not have that fact used as a basis for initiating a sodomy conviction.

March 27

1874 — Illinois reduces the penalty for sodomy from life to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

1958 — A New York court decides that loitering for sodomy is legal if there is no attempt to breach the peace.

1959 — A California appellate court upholds the revocation of the license of a Turkish bath for allowing sex on the premises. The Court ridicules the defense of privacy and says that morality is more important.

1972 — Idaho reenacts its entire pre-1971 criminal code, reinstating common-law crimes and the sodomy law with a penalty of up to life imprisonment.

1976 — Wisconsin repeals its law prohibiting the publicizing of the names of victims of sexual crimes, including sodomy.

March 28

1954 — The Sydney Morning Herald editorializes in favor of decriminalization of sodomy in Australia.

1960 — A New Jersey appellate court upholds the conviction of an attorney (and McCarthy backer) for engaging in fellatio with numerous teenage males.

1972 — The Michigan Court of Appeals again rejects the contention that heterosexuals are exempt from the "crime against nature."

1973 — North Dakota, in passing a new criminal code, becomes the eighth state to repeal its sodomy law.

1973 — The North Carolina Court of Appeals upholds the "crime against nature" law against a vagueness challenge.

1977 — Arkansas reinstates its sodomy law as a misdemeanor and applicable only to people of the same sex. Although the vote is overwhelming (66-2 in the House and 25-0 in the Senate), one-third of the 100-member House and 35-member Senate fail to vote.

March 29

1951 — Arizona raises the penalty for sodomy from 1-5 years to 5-20 years.

1962 — Kentucky outlaws "indecent conduct" with a person over 15, which probably covers oral sex.

1967 — Nevada lowers its penalty for the "crime against nature" from 1 year-life to 1-6 years.

1979 — A California appellate court upholds the right of the state to prosecute consensual sexual relations of prisoners even though non-prisoners have the right to consensual sex.

1995 — Pennsylvania repeals its court-voided sodomy law 15 years after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck it down.

March 30

1867 — Alaska is purchased from Russia. All Russian law had been abrogated there five years earlier, and Congress passes no criminal code for it, meaning that sodomy is legal.

1911 — Missouri amends its sodomy law to include oral sex.

1922 — The Michigan Supreme Court rules that indictments under the "gross indecency" law do not have to be specific.

1961 — The New York Court of Appeals rules that the state’s sodomy law applies only to the partner who is "active" in fucking. This decision is overturned by legislation.

1964 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds that state’s sodomy law against a vagueness challenge.

1966 — The Oregon Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of two lovers, one of whom has cross-dressed.

March 31

1860 — Pennsylvania enacts an outlaw statute saying that persons who flee when accused of certain crimes—including sodomy—can be found guilty without trial.

1902 — Iowa amends its sodomy law to cover oral sex.

1972 — Vermont amends its oral sex law to eliminate the provision for compulsory confinement in a jail.

1976 — The Florida Supreme Court reverses a conviction for open and gross lewdness of a man who fondled another in a dark bar.

1981 — Montana adds a fine of up to $50,000 for sodomy, but exempts paupers from paying it.

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