Repeal of North Carolina Sodomy Law Introduced
March 13, 2001
By Matt Alsdorf
SUMMARY: GLBT groups are hoping that this years state Senate measure
to decriminalize oral and anal intercourse in North Carolina will meet with
more success than similar efforts have in recent years.
An effort to amend North Carolinas sodomy law to allow for consensual
oral and anal sex is under way, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird introduced a bill to the state Senate last week that
would exempt consenting adults from prosecution for "crimes against
nature," but would keep the prohibitions in place for acts done in public
or for hire. The News & Record quoted her as saying the current law was a
"government stamp of authority" that "lawless people" use
to harass gays and lesbians.
Nearly 400 people were prosecuted under the law last year. Conviction of
crimes against nature is a felony with a maximum sentence of more than a year
Similar bills have failed in past years because legislative committees are
reticent to bring them to a vote. Lawmakers "are afraid of what could
happen in an election because it could be portrayed in an unfavorable way in
an eight second sound bite," Deborah Ross, director of the North Carolina
chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in the News & Record.
Conservative groups are fighting the changes to the sodomy law, arguing
that they amount to promotion of the "homosexual lifestyle."
Gay and lesbian groups have successfully challenged the majority of state
sodomy laws in the past few decades. However, 12 states including North
Carolina still bar sodomy for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and four
states continue to prohibit same-sex sodomy only, according to the News &
Jo Wyrick, executive director of Equality NC, a GLBT lobbying group, said
the current North Carolina sodomy law violates "a basic right to
"I think most people take the attitude that what other people do in
their own homes is their own business," Wyrick said.
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