Arizona Repeals Sodomy Laws
Gay.com / PlanetOut.com
Network, May 9, 2001
By Barbara Dozeots
SUMMARY: Calling the statutes "unenforced and unenforceable,"
Arizonas governor signed into law a bill repealing the states ban on
cohabitation, oral sex and sodomy.
Arizona Gov. Jane Hull surprised many of her constituents this week by
signing into law a bill that repeals the states ban on cohabitation, oral
sex and sodomy.
In spite of heavy lobbying by conservative groups asking her to veto the
measure approved by the states legislature last week, Hull, a Republican,
said, "At the end of the day, I returned to one of my most basic beliefs
about government: It does not belong in our private lives." Her comments
came in a letter explaining her decision to the Speaker of the Arizona House
The law being repealed set out a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine
for the misdemeanor crimes of unmarried men and women living together; sodomy
including oral sex; and any sex act not intended for procreation.
"The laws that are repealed by HB 2016 are unenforced and
unenforceable," Hull wrote. "Keeping archaic laws on the books does
not promote high moral standards; instead, it teaches the lesson that laws are
made to be broken."
Conservatives are considering a move to take the issue to the polls in a
referendum, but doing so would require gathering 80,000 signatures in 90 days
at an estimated cost of $150,000, Republican Sen. David Peterson told the
Arizona Republic. "The question is if there is enough fire in the
belly," he said.
Any legislator moving to reinstate the law would be "laughed out of
office," said Rep. Steve May, the repeal bills sponsor and a gay
Republican. "Let them go to the ballot, and well watch them waste all
their money," May told the Republic.
According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 17 states still have
sodomy laws on the books.
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