Last edited: April 09, 2007



  • Statute: 21-886, Crime Against Nature. Unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas
  • Penalty: 10 years
  • Classification: Felony
  • Restrictions: Same-sex only


§21-886 Crime Against Nature-Penalty

Every person who is guilty of the detestable and abominable crime against nature, committed with mankind or with a beast, is punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding ten (10) years.

R.L. 1910, § 2444; Laws 1992, c. 289, § 1, emerg. eff. May 25, 1992; Amended by Laws 1997, H.B. No. 1213 c. 133. § 263, emerg. Effective Date Amended to July 1, 1999 by Laws 1998, c. 2 (First Extraordinary Session), §§ 23-26, effective June 19, 1998 (superseded document available).; Amended by Laws 1997, c. 333, § 5, Effective Date Amended to July 1, 1999 by Laws 1998, c. 2 (First Extraordinary Session), §§ 23-26, effective June 19, 1998 (superseded document available); Amended by H.B. 1009X (1st Ex. Sess. 1999), § 167, emerg. eff. July 1, 1999 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2002, SB 1536, c. 460,  § 8, eff. November 1, 2002 (superseded document available).

§21-887 Crime against nature, what penetration necessary.

Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime against nature.


A 1977 effort to repeal sodomy laws was met with a vote-delaying "chorus of giggles."

In 1986, Post v. the State of Oklahoma the state Supreme Court struck down the law as it applies to heterosexuals, noting it had not addressed the issue of same sex relationships.

Oklahoma amended its sodomy law four times between 1992 and 1999. In 1999, the maximum penalty was raised from 10 to 20 years. It was reduced again in 2002 to 10 years.

            1890     Oklahoma’s first criminal code makes explicit that married couples can be prosecuted for marital sodomy.

            1935     An Oklahoma appellate court becomes the first court in the nation to rule that an act of cunnilingus is a “crime against nature.”

            1986     The Court of Criminal Appeals rules that the state’s sodomy law can be applied constitutionally to people of the opposite sex. In 1988, another court rules that the decision applies to “consenting adults,” apparently regardless of gender. Just two weeks later, the same court clarifies that it is applicable only to “consensual, heterosexual” activity.

            1988     Oklahoma enacts a state RICO law that applies to businesses involved in criminal activity, including sodomy. This apparently can be used against bath houses.


City of Oklahoma City v. Sawatzky, 1996
During the summer of 1994, an Oklahoma City police officer invited a young man to come back to his hotel room with him. When the man accepted, he was arrested for soliciting sodomy. The ACLU of Oklahoma defended the man in municipal court, which issued a guilty verdict.

The Oklahoma affiliate challenged the verdict and the State's anti-sodomy statute in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, which had previously held that the law was an unconstitutional violation of the right to privacy as it applied to heterosexuals. ACLU's cooperating attorney Mark Henricksen argued the case before the Court of Criminal Appeals in August of 1995 and attempted to convince the Court that the right to privacy applies to all Oklahomans, regardless of sexual orientation. In November of 1995, the Court issued a ruling that refused to address the sodomy statute but upheld the client's municipal court conviction based on the government's interest in regulating sexual speech in public places.

With the help of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, the Oklahoma affiliate of the ACLU filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. In April of 1996, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal without comment.




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