Suit Filed Against Massachusetts Sodomy Law
BOSTON, Ma. Massachusetts centuries-old sodomy statute will
face scrutiny before the commonwealths Supreme Judicial Court, the Boston Globe
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) a gay civil rights advocacy filed suit
asking the states highest court to make a declaratory judgment that the sodomy laws
violate state constitutional rights of privacy and dignity.
Massachusetts is one of only 17 remaining states in the country to criminalize certain
sexual behaviors, including oral sex, be they conducted by gay or straight partners.
"There have been very significant efforts made to try to address this issue
through the Legislature and they have all simply hit dead ends," said Jennifer Levi
of GLAD. "The statute is so clearly in violation of the privacy and dignity
guaranteed to all citizens of the Commonwealth that it calls out for judicial
Sodomy laws have fallen to legislative repeals and judicial decisions in one state
after another. Levi told the Globe it was time that Massachusetts joined the ranks of
Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, Nevada, Rhode Island, New York, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia and
Conservatives intend to fight its invalidation by the court. "This issue goes to
the very heart of the matter when it comes to society and homosexuality, which is that
its been the settled conviction of civilizations for centuries that sodomy is a
crime against nature," C.J. Doyle of the states Catholic Action League told the
"We think the law is a teacher," Doyle added, "and the laws ought to
remain on the books."
Massachusetts currently prohibits "the abominable and detestable crime against
nature," which in interpreted as anal intercourse, and another statute which
"unnatural acts," which has been applied to both oral and anal sex.
"Striking down the sodomy statutes doesnt remove from the state its ability
to prosecute offenses involving public conduct," Levi said. At least two state laws
prohibit indecent exposure and public sexual exposure. "All it does is to remove the
states ability to regulate some of the ways in which people express intimacy."
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