Arizona Governor Signs Sodomy Repeal Into Law
May 9, 2001
PHOENIX, AZ After seven years of failed attempts,
Arizona Gov. Jane Hull signed into law a measure stripping several antiquated
sexual conduct laws, including unmarried cohabitation and sodomy, from the
states penal code.
Gov. Hulls signature on the repeal measure ends weeks of
suspense regarding the fate of the bill. The governor had painstakingly
avoided giving any indication as to which way she would go on the measure but
hinted she had received more than a thousand calls from conservatives urging
her to veto the bill.
"The governor keeps her own counsel on these things,
and she hasnt told anybody yet what she plans to do," spokeswoman
Francie Noyes offered last Friday.
Explaining the governors reasons for signing the bill
into law, Noyes said, "She listened very carefully to what everybody had
to say [and] fundamentally, it came down to government doesnt belong in
Specifically, the law strips clauses that list "open
and notorious cohabitation," the "infamous crime against
nature" and any "lewd or lascivious act... with the intent of
arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust, passion or sexual desires"
from the states penal code.
"The governor and I agree that the state has no
compelling interest in the lives of consenting adults," the Associated
Press quotes Republican Rep. Steve May, the bills chief sponsor in the
In a letter to House Speaker Jim Weiers, Gov. Hull said the
sex laws are not enforced and cannot be enforced and that she therefore agreed
they should be abolished.
"Keeping archaic laws on the books does not promote
high moral standards; instead, it teaches the lesson that laws are made to be
broken," she said. "Moral standards are set by families and those
they turn to for guidance, such as religious and community leaders. We learn
much more from watching their behavior than from any written laws or
May concurred and joined the governor in expressing the hope
that, with this question settled, the state could now move on to more pressing
matters. "This has been a debate in the Legislature for the last 20
years," May said. "This ends the debate. Anybody who tries to
proactively put [these laws] back onto the books will be laughed out of
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