Hull Signs Repeal of Archaic Sex Laws
Republic, May 8, 2001
P.O. Box 2244, Phoenix, AZ 85002
By Beth DeFalco
Gov. Jane Hull today resisted the urgings of thousands of callers and
signed into law a bill that repeals the states laws against sodomy, oral
sex and cohabitation.
By signing House Bill 2016, Hull also gives heterosexual couples the
ability to claim a live-in partner as a dependent under certain circumstances.
"Keeping archaic laws on the books does not promote high moral
standards; instead it teaches the lesson that laws are made to be
broken," Hull wrote in a one-page letter explaining her decision.
The repeal idea had become the lightning rod issue of this years
legislative session, sparking more than 5,600 calls and letters to her office
from Arizonans urging her to veto the bill. In comparison, she had about 1,800
requests to sign it.
Adultery remains a crime under the bill.
Drafted in 1901 when Arizona was still a territory, citizens who commit
"lewd and lascivious acts," "open and notorious
cohabitation" and "the infamous crime against nature" could
have been subject to a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 30 days in
jail and a $500 fine.
Because cohabitation was illegal, heterosexual couples living together
could not claim one another as a dependent on state or federal tax forms,
prompting the sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Steve May, to call it the
"Equity Act of 2001."
The law officially goes into effect 90 days after the end of the session,
which is expected to wrap up this week. For tax purposes, the deduction can be
taken if one partner receives more than half of his or her financial support
from the other during 2001.
"Were disappointed and surprised. The governor appeared to be
listening to the grassroots opposition to the bill," said Cathi Herrod, a
lobbyist for the Center for Arizona Policy, a faith-based organization.
"Those laws set a standard that favored marital relations over
cohabitation and same-sex relationships in our state."
Eleven other states still have laws against certain sex acts, according to
Kathie Gummere, a lobbyist for the Arizona Human Rights Fund, which supported
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