Last edited: April 26, 2002


Calendar for September

September 1

1851 — Minnesota passes its own sodomy law that does not change the penalty and abrogates common-law crimes.

1950 — The New York Attorney General issues an opinion that both partners in an act of oral sex are guilty under the state’s sodomy law.

1955 — The Washington Supreme Court rules that defense against sodomy can include killing the perpetrator.

1971 — An Oklahoma appellate court rules that women can be prosecuted for sodomy.

1979 — The new criminal code in New Jersey, including repeal of the consensual sodomy law, takes effect.

September 2

1726 — A soldier and a laborer are caught in the grass of a London park.

1822 — Florida recognizes common-law and English statutory crimes, thus apparently making sodomy a capital crime, although a later study of Florida law insisted that the English buggery law was not recognized in the state, despite the law.

1976 — Guam passes a new criminal code that includes repeal of its sodomy law.

1997 — The Virginia Court of Appeals upholds the solicitation conviction of a man for soliciting an undercover police officer who led him to believe that he was looking for sex.

September 3

1904 — The Panama Canal Commission adopts a criminal code for the newly established Panama Canal Zone with a sodomy provision with a maximum ten-year penalty.

September 4

1973 — A federal court in Pennsylvania upholds the right of the federal government to prosecute prisoners in federal prisons for sodomy under the Assimilative Crimes Act, but questions the constitutionality of state laws regulating consenting adults.

September 5

1957 — George Curley, son of former Boston Mayor and Massachusetts Governor James Curley, is arrested on a same-sex sex charge.

1968 — The Iowa Supreme Court upholds the conviction of a prisoner for consensual sodomy with his cell mate. The prisoner was sentenced only to concurrent time he already was serving, making it unclear why he was prosecuted.

1970 — Colombia reduces the penalty for consensual sodomy from a felony to a misdemeanor.

September 6

1809 — English sailor Charles North receives 300 lashes and 2 years of solitary confinement for "indecent liberties" with a ship boy.

1849 — In Philadelphia, an investigation by the Presbyterian Church against minister John Grant begins. He resists dismissal for sex with men by defying the church’s investigative committee.

1878 — In India, a man dies in a mental institution six hours after sex with another man. The autopsy showed that three feet of intestine had been ripped from its wall.

September 7

1979 — The California Supreme Court narrows the construction of the state’s disorderly conduct law and overrules ten previous court decisions on its applicability, many of them that penalized consensual same-sex intimacy.

September 8

1958 — A California appellate court overturns the nuisance conviction of a theatre owner because of sex in the theatre.

September 9

1910 — An Ohio appellate court determines that the state’s strangely worded 1889 sodomy law does, as apparently intended, outlaw fellatio.

1957 — A mysterious sodomy prosecution begins in Coshocton, Ohio. Ten men are arrested and prosecuted, but nine of the prosecutions are kept out of the court records.

1976 — A California appellate court upholds the disorderly conduct conviction of two men for kissing in their car.

September 10

1926 — The Nevada Supreme Court reverses the sodomy conviction of a man because there was no proof of penetration.

September 11

1922 — The Colorado Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction and says that it will discuss a point of error raised by the defendant, but doesn’t. The case later needs to be clarified because of another overlooked point in its rush to uphold the conviction.

1926 — A California appellate court upholds the crime against nature conviction of a man for consensual sex in a car. The court calls the act "one of the most repulsive degradations known to humanity."

1941 — The Georgia Court of Appeals upholds a sodomy conviction even though the witness contradicts the arresting officer.

1978 — The Tennessee Supreme Court rules that a previous crime against nature conviction can’t be used under the habitual offender law.

September 12

1772 — The Marquis de Sade is sentenced to death in absentia for sodomizing a servant and is burned in effigy.

1967 — Two men in California Governor Ronald Reagan’s cabinet are forced out of their jobs when it is discovered that they are having an affair. When confronted with the evidence, Reagan is supposed to have said, "My god, has government failed?"

September 13

1976 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds the "crime against nature" law as applied to consensual activity.

1991 — The Nebraska Supreme Court upholds the public indecency conviction of a man seen from the rear in a restroom by the police.

September 14

1973 — The Alaska Supreme Court rules that the amendment of the state’s sodomy law in 1971 made fellatio and cunnilingus legal in the state.

1993 — The District of Columbia consensual sodomy law repeal takes effect.

September 15

1786 — Pennsylvania reduces the penalty for sodomy to a maximum of ten years in prison and requires forfeiture of estate and prohibits bail.

1920 — A California appellate court overturns the sodomy conviction of a man because evidence of sexual acts with others was admitted into his trial.

1964 — A Connecticut appellate court upholds the lewdness conviction of a man for soliciting an undercover police officer.

1965 — The Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that a sodomy defendant recommended for "specialized treatment" can not be sentenced to prison.

1967 — The Minnesota Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction and five-year prison sentence of a man who pleaded guilty only because police had promised him that he would receive "treatment" instead of being sent to prison. The Court ignores the fact that police lied to him in order to get him to plead guilty.

1978 — A Louisiana appellate court upholds the right of the legislature to set a more severe penalty for solicitation for sodomy than for solicitation for prostitution because sodomy is "unnatural" and prostitution is "natural."

September 16

1810 — The Michigan Territory abrogates all English and Northwest Territory law.

1968 — A California appellate court upholds the disorderly conduct conviction of a man who solicited an undercover officer in a bar and was arrested outside the bar after the officer left with him.

September 17

1807 — The Indiana Territory enacts a criminal code, eliminating the 1795 common-law reception. The penalty for sodomy is a maximum 5 years in prison (the 3rd longest in the code), a $500 fine, and 500 lashes (the most in the code). It also contains a curious provision allowing the hiring out of persons convicted of certain crimes, including sodomy, as servants. This creates the possibility of "kept boys." The new code is signed by Governor William Henry Harrison, future President.

September 18

September 19

1876 — Hawaii permits conviction on a charge of assault to commit sodomy if the jury is not satisfied of guilt of sodomy.

1895 — The Virginia Supreme Court reverses the sodomy conviction of a 10-year-old boy, claiming that it was impossible for him to have committed the act.

1955 — The Maine Supreme Court rules that masturbation does not violate the "crime against nature" law.

1956 — The North Carolina Supreme Court rejects the contention that the crime against nature law was repealed impliedly by a law to protect children from sexual assaults.

1956 — The North Carolina Supreme Court upholds the right of a trial court to correct errors in the record in a sodomy case five years after the trial.

1984 — A Massachusetts appellate court upholds the conviction of a man for consensual sex in a public restroom, despite overhead surveillance.

September 20

1944 — A Georgia appellate court rules that drunkenness is no defense to a charge of sodomy.

1966 — An Alabama appellate court says that a sodomy case reminded them of "the savage horror practiced by the dwellers of ancient Sodom from which this crime was nominally derived."

1967 — The North Carolina Supreme Court upholds a sentence of 4-6 years in prison for consensual sodomy.

September 21

1881 — The California Supreme Court states that "Every person of ordinary intelligence understands what the crime against nature with a human being is."

1926 — The Oregon Supreme Court upholds the right of the state to prosecute sodomy attempts under the general attempts statute.

1950 — The Illinois Supreme Court rejects the claim that sodomy can be committed only by people of the same sex.

September 22

1676 — Governor Edmond Andros of New York issues an order extending the 1665 sodomy law of New York into what now are Pennsylvania and Delaware.

September 23

1905 — The Iowa Supreme Court upholds a conviction for "an unnatural crime, which need not be named."

1974 — A Pennsylvania court upholds the state’s sodomy law against a marital status discrimination claim.

September 24

1731 — Twenty-two men are strangled and burned for sodomy in Faan, the Netherlands. Two die under torture. A total of 96 Gay men are executed in the years 1730-1731, 36% of the total from 1701-1809.

1813 — In England, James Williams is entrapped by a man he tries to pick up. A prearranged meeting had been set up and a third party is invited as a witness to the solicitation.

1957 — An Austrian committee recommends repeal of that nation’s sodomy law, but it will take 14 years for the repeal to happen.

1992 — The Kentucky Supreme Court strikes down the state’s same-sex-only sodomy law both as an invasion of privacy and a denial of equal protection of the laws. The decision declares Gay men and Lesbians to be a "suspect classification" under the state constitution for discrimination purposes.

September 25

1845 — Illinois raises the maximum penalty for sodomy from 10 years to life imprisonment.

September 26

September 27

1943 — The Colorado Supreme Court upholds the conviction of a man for sodomy and for an attempt. It concedes that there was no evidence for the attempt conviction, but says he won’t get out of prison any earlier with that portion of his conviction overturned, so leaves it standing.

1951 — An Illinois appellate court upholds a psychopathic offender designation on a man with a history of consensual sodomy.

1956 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit votes 3-0 to reverse the assault conviction of a man for touching the undercover police who encouraged him.

1957 — The Arizona Supreme Court rejects a vagueness challenge to the sodomy law.

1965 — The Wisconsin Supreme Court denies the habeas corpus petition of a man sent to a mental facility for sodomy without the assistance of an attorney and who received no attorney’s help until 10 years later.

1979 — The Texas Court of Civil Appeals upholds the disbarment of an attorney for consensual fellatio with another man.

1988 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals hints that all consensual sodomy is constitutionally protected, not just that between people of the opposite sex. Just 15 days later, the same court decides that sexual privacy is for heterosexuals only.

September 28

1654 — Belgian sculptor Jérome Duquesnoy is burned at the stake for committing sodomy.

1966 — The Florida Supreme Court upholds a conviction for attempted consensual sodomy. The Court said that the public can find out what is illegal under the law by visiting a law library.

1972 — A Tennessee appellate court upholds the state’s sodomy law.

September 29

1938 — A Georgia appellate court rules that interfemoral intercourse does not violate the state’s "crime against nature" law.

1942 — The California Supreme Court overturns the lewd and lascivious act conviction of a man for fondling the crotch of his partner because he never touched the bare skin, and the partner made inconsistent statements in court.

September 30

1895 — The California Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because the trial judge did not submit the issue of consent to the jury.

1975 — The New Hampshire Supreme Court rejects the claim that the state’s sodomy law applies only to people of the same sex.

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