Criminal Sodomy Statutes in Effect in 1791
v. Hardwick Majority Opinion Footnote 5
Connecticut: 1 Public Statute Laws of the State of
Connecticut, 1808, Title LXVI, ch. 1, 2 (rev. 1672).
Delaware: 1 Laws of the State of Delaware, 1797, ch. 22, 5
Georgia had no criminal sodomy statute until 1816, but
sodomy was a crime at common law, and the General Assembly adopted the common law of
England as the law of Georgia in 1784. The First Laws of the State of Georgia, pt. 1, p.
Maryland had no criminal sodomy statute in 1791.
Maryland's Declaration of Rights, passed in 1776, however, stated that "the
inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the common law of England," and sodomy was a
crime at common law. 4 W. Swindler, Sources and Documents of United States Constitutions
Massachusetts: Acts and Laws passed by the
General Court of Massachusetts, ch. 14, Act of Mar. 3, 1785.
New Hampshire passed its first sodomy statute in 1718.
Acts and Laws of New Hampshire 1680-1726, p. 141 (1978).
New Jersey: Sodomy was a crime at common law in New Jersey at
the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The State enacted its first criminal
sodomy law five years later. Acts of the Twentieth General Assembly, Mar. 18, 1796, ch.
New York: Laws of New York, ch. 21 (passed 1787). [478 U.S. 186, 193] At the time of ratification of the Bill of
North Carolina had adopted the English
statute of Henry VIII outlawing sodomy. See Collection of the Statutes of the Parliament
of England in Force in the State of North-Carolina, ch. 17, p. 314 (Martin ed. 1792).
Pennsylvania: Laws of the Fourteenth General Assembly of
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ch. CLIV, 2 (passed 1790).
Rhode Island passed its first sodomy law in
1662. The Earliest Acts and Laws of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
1647-1719, p. 142 (1977).
South Carolina: Public Laws of the State of South
Carolina, p. 49 (1790). At the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights,
Virginia had no specific statute outlawing sodomy, but
had adopted the English common law. 9 Hening's Laws of Virginia, ch. 5, 6, p. 127 (1821)