- Statute: 800.02, Unnatural and Lascivious Act. Unconstitutional
under Lawrence v. Texas.
- Penalty: 60 days/$500
- Classification: Misdemeanor
- Restrictions: None
Florida’s overtly discriminatory adoption law banning gay people from
adopting used the Florida sodomy law as a justification. With the Supreme Court
decision in Lawrence v. Texas, that rationalization has been dropped. The
"best interest of the child" standard is now being misused to break up
Not since Franklin v. Florida, 257 So.2d (Fla 1971), has this law been
enforced against homosexual conduct.
800.02 Unnatural and lascivious act
A person who commits any unnatural and lascivious act with another person commits a
misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A
mother's breast feeding of her baby does not under any circumstance violate this section.
History: s. 1, ch. 7361, 1917; RGS 5425; CGL 7568; s. 778, ch. 71-136; s. 2, ch. 93-4.
Interpretation prior to Lawrence v. Texas
Floridas "sodomy" law is complex.
Florida does not have a specific Sodomy Law. A felony law used in the arrest of two men
engaged in a sexual act in a car was struck down as too vague to enforce in 1972. An
accompanying 2nd degree misdemeanor lewdness charge (800.2 Unnatural and lascivious act)
was not dismissed but legal analysts have agreed that other factors (such as the somewhat
public nature of the activity) may have triggered the charge rather than sexual
orientation or specific activity of the men.
My understanding is that no Floridian has gone to court on this misdemeanor charge
since the passage of Floridas Privacy Amendment in 1980one of the strongest
privacy provisions in the country. It has however been cited in custody cases by
homophobes to justify taking children from lgbt parents or preventing adoption. The
primary focus of work to overturn the so-called sodomy law has been legal.
Some tried to get it swept away along with other archaic, unenforced laws. Others have
looked for the "ideal" case to take to a supportive prosecutor...we cant
challenge it in court if no one gets charged with it.
The other path is to challenge legislatively. We are developing the list of legislators
we can turn to on this issue and the prospects are not good in the near term. Education is
our primary focus when it comes to the legislature on the issue.
We also have a lawsuit challenging the fact that Florida is the only state backward
enough to ban adoptions by "homosexuals." We are eager to see how the
"sodomy law" factors in to that battle.
becomes the first state in 123 years to make the penalty for sodomy death. It is
unclear why the penalty was raised, but no death sentences are carried out in
the state for it.
years after making sodomy a capital offense, Florida enacts a law forbidding
anyone convicted of sodomy from being a witness in a trial.
the most homophobic language ever used in a sodomy opinion appears in a decision
from the Florida Supreme Court. “A discussion of the loathsome, revolting
crime would be of no edification to the people, nor interest to the members of
the bar. The creatures who are guilty are entitled to a consideration of their
case because they are called human beings and are entitled to the protection of
Florida Supreme Court uses some unjudicious and ungrammatical language
concerning the defendant in a sodomy case, asking if “the action of a 76 year
old, aged Indian War Veteran, feeble physically and mentally, in, after having
met the two girls of 11 and 13 years of age who solicited him, went to his
residence and there they both get on the bed, pull up their dresses and drop
down their panties, when he in turn on his back in the same bed allowed them to
diddle with his rag-like penis, unerectable, lifeless and useless except to
connect the bladder with the outside world for more than six years since the
death of his wife, utterly incapable of either penetration or emission, and wad
it like a rag into their mouths, and then, in a feeble and aged condition
impelled by the irresistible impulse, in turn he would kiss and put his tongue
in their little, though potentially influential and powerful vaginas?”
Florida Supreme Court finds that, if death were reinstated as the penalty for
consensual sodomy, it would be constitutional.
unique opinion from the Attorney General of Florida decides that an act of
sodomy committed on an Indian reservation between two Indians or an Indian and a
non-Indian can not be prosecuted under state law.
year-and-a-half after striking down the state’s felony “crime against
nature” law as unconstitutionally vague, the Florida Supreme Court, with no
changes in membership, upholds the state’s misdemeanor “unnatural and
lascivious acts” law, finding “against nature” too vague, but
“unnatural” perfectly understandable.
1975 A trial
court Miami is the first to find a Gay bathhouse a private place where sexual
activity is constitutionally protected.
Republican Guilty in Washroom Sex Case - 365Gay.com,
November 10, 2007
State Rep. Bob Allen (R) has been convicted of offering an undercover male
police officer cash for sex.
- One Year Later: Pryor’s Record on 11th
Circuit - Law.com, February
- U.S. Court Rejects Gay Marriage Ban Challenge
- UK.Gay.com, January 21, 2005
- Supreme Court Sidesteps Gay Adoption Case - Washington
Post, January 10, 2005
- Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Florida Adoption
Ban Case - Human Rights Campaign,
January 10, 2005
- Supreme Court Mulls Hearing Florida Gay Adoption
Case - 365Gay.com, January
- Will Justices Hear Florida Adoption Ban Case?
- PlanetOut, January 5, 2005
- Gay Adoption Case May Evoke Supreme Court’s
‘Lawrence’ Decision - Legal
Times, January 5, 2005
- Gay Men Appeal Federal Decision Upholding
Florida’s Ban on Gay Adoptions - February 20, 2004
- 4 Men Ask Federal Court to Reconsider Law
Prohibiting Gay Adoption - February 19, 2004
- ACLU Asks Appeals Court to Reconsider Florida
Adoption Ruling - February 19, 2004
- Adoption Loss Has Gays Reeling - January 30,
- Analysis of Florida Adoption Case by Arthur S. Leonard - January 29, 2004
- Court Upholds Florida Gay Adoption Ban -
January 29, 2004
- Florida Maintains Ban on Adoptions by Gays -
January 29, 2004
- Gay Men Lose Challenge to Florida Gay Adoption
Ban - January 28, 2004
- Not in the Bible - August 19, 2003
- State Denies Targeting Gays in Busts at Park
Beach - July 25, 2003
- ACLU Cites Lawrence in Florida Case - July
- ACLU Boosts Case Against Florida Adoption Ban
- July 22, 2003
- Supreme Court Ruling Helps Gay Parents Florida
Suit Says - July 21, 2003
- Gay-Pride March Celebrates Ruling
- June 29, 2003
- High Court Ruling May Affect
Florida Law - NBC-2, June 26,
- Texas Sodomy Case Is More About Equal Treatment
- Key West Citizen, June
- County to Makeover Park - Florida
Today, March 31, 2003
- Court Hears Florida Gay Adoption Ban Case - Washington
Post, March 4, 2003
- Governor Jeb Bushs Son Violated Floridas Sodomy Law
and Doesnt Get Charged - December 11, 2000
- Going Down Down South: Fighting Absurd Sex Laws - April 1998
- National Sexual Rights Council Says You May Need Marriage
Certificate To Check Into Florida Hotels - December 7, 1997
1222 S. Dale Mabry Suite 652
Tampa, FL 33629
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