Last edited: February 06, 2005


New York

  • Statute: Ruled Unconstitutional 1980, repealed by the legislature on June 23, 2000.
  • Case Law: People v. Onofre 415 N.E.2d 936 (N.Y. 1980)
  • Restriction: Does not apply to married couples.

People v. Onofre ruled the NY sodomy law unconstitutional based on the federal constitutional privacy protections. These protections were found not to apply to homosexual sodomy in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. In the 2000 legislative session, the sodomy law was repealed as part of the Sexual Assault Reform Act which modernizes the criminal code.

Answers to Common Questions


Sec. 130.38 Consensual sodomy

A person is guilty of consensual sodomy when he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person.

Consensual sodomy is a class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 130.00 Sex offenses; definitions of terms

The following definitions are applicable to this article:

2. "Deviate sexual intercourse" means sexual conduct between persons not married to each other consisting of contact between the penis and the anus, the mouth and penis, or the mouth and the vulva.


            1814     A New York trial court publishes the earliest known slander case in U.S. history involving an accusation of sodomy.

            1839     A New York trial court publishes the earliest known case in U.S. history in which a person is found to have committed robbery by threatening a victim with an accusation of sodomy.

            1846     The earliest known case of a civil servant being dismissed for making a sodomitical solicitation occurs with a New York City police officer.

            1903     Due to the lingering beliefs from medieval times that sodomy always was assaultive in nature, two men arrested for consensual sodomy with each other are charged with sexually assaulting each other.

            1950     New York becomes the first state in the nation to reduce the penalty for consensual sodomy from a felony to a misdemeanor.

            1952     The first in a series of court decisions in New York overturns convictions of men for soliciting undercover police officers to go back to their place for “fun.” The courts say that “fun” can be any number of things. This opens a hole in the state’s solicitation laws.

            1958     A court overturns the disorderly conduct conviction of a man for soliciting and fondling an undercover police officer in a restroom because there was no evidence that there was an attempt to breach the peace, which the court found to be required by the law.

            1961     The state’s highest court interprets the portion of state’s sodomy law covering anal sex to criminalize the acts only of the partner inserting his penis into his partner’s anus. The following year, the New York legislature amends the sodomy law to cover both partners.

            1965     In adopting a new criminal code, the New York legislature makes that state the first in the nation to adopt a statutory exemption to the sodomy law for married couples.

            1969     A federal judge is the first in the nation to be presented with a sodomy prosecution of actors for engaging in sex on a public stage.

            1997     New York is the first state to have a prosecution for sodomy under its state Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that covers the national guard.



Repeal bills




Empire State Pride Agenda
647 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
Fax: 212-627-4136

Founded in 1990, the Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s statewide, non-partisan lesbian and gay political advocacy organization. With offices in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City, the Pride Agenda fights for equal rights for lesbian and gay New Yorkers by lobbying the state legislature and the Governor, electing supportive candidates, organizing the community and educating the public. The organization has 13 full-time employees, 8 part-time employees, and a $2.2 million budget.

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