Why This Site Was Created and Credits
By Bob Summersgill, creator of www.sodomylaws.org.
I became aware of Sodomy laws and their pernicious effects in college when various
anti-gay groups would seek to deny funding to the Gay and Lesbian student group. They
never succeeded, but a lot of time and energy was wasted on the issue. As we sought to
have the University add "sexual orientation" to the non-discrimination policy,
the issue arose again.
A few years later, I found myself in the middle of the efforts to reform the
Washington, DC sodomy law. In addition to lobbying the city council (I was one of hundreds
who did), I collected information on sodomy laws around the country and helped the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force put a list together. With the successful unanimous
passage of the bill, I found myself with a collection of information that shouldn't be
Initially I created a list on the Internet that was saved on the Queer Resources
Directory, but it aged and I kept seeing old versions of it on the web. Jeff Harris
updated the list, and I decided to make it a bit more dynamic and accessible.
In 1999, I was asked to write a chapter on sodomy-laws for the NGLTF publication Creating
Change: Public Policy, Civil Rights, and Sexuality. For space
considerations my chapter was not ultimately included. Excerpts of that
unpublished chapter appear
through out this site.
This site has been created as a resource for people trying to repeal sodomy laws. It is
as comprehensive as I have been able to make it, and I'm always adding to it. Submissions
Thanks to Tina Wood, Jeffrey Harris, Frank Kameny, Arthur Leonard, John Stone, Tom Neal
and Paul Jeffrey for the additional citations. This site updates lists prepared by
Summersgill, and the DC Sodomy Law Coalition in 1994 and by Stephen Clark at Yale Law
School in 1995.
George Painter proved the complete text of his monumental but unpublished
legal history of sodomy laws without compensation. I am extremely gratified to
be able to provide The
Sensibilities of our Forefathers on this site.
Special thanks to the National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force, the American Civil Liberties Union,
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and countless individuals and organizations
working to eliminate laws prohibiting consensual, non-commercial between adults in private.
With the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence
v. Texas news of sodomy laws in the United States should trail off. I
will continue to track them but I will try to increase the coverage of sodomy
laws around the world.
Most of the information on sodomy laws outside of the United States was
gathered and organized by the International
Lesbian and Gay Association and their word
legal survey. Their survey is far broader and more comprehensive than the
scope of this site.
NOTE: In June, 2008, Bob Summersgill gave sodomylaws.org, the domain and the website, to Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN). GLAPN currently has no plans to develop the site further, but we are happy to give the site a home so that this information may be available worldwide. Comments and questions may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and visitors are welcome at GLAPN's site, www.glapn.org.