Last edited: February 14, 2005

Commonwealth Still Reaches Into Bedrooms

Daily News Leader, January 26, 2001
Staunton, VA

Chalk up another victory for the forces of ignorance. Virginia continues to have something in common with Puerto Rico, Alabama, Mississippi, and 16 other states.

Sodomy — the practice of oral or anal sex between consenting adults — remains a felony in the Commonwealth. For those unaware of the consequences, the maximum penalty for engaging in either practice is a fine of $2,500 plus jail time.

A bill seeking to repeal or scale back the state’s "crimes against nature" law was introduced again this year by Del. Brian Moran, D-Alexandria. Moran’s proposal would have made consensual sodomy a crime only if an adult solicited a minor. The bill died in the House Courts of Justice Committee 12-9.

According to a news item in The Associated Press, opponents of the bill cited the state’s interest in fighting sexually transmitted diseases. Excuse us, but aren’t STDs transmitted just as readily via good old genital-to-genital heterosexual sex?

Hello? Can you say syphilis, boys and girls? Gonorrhea? Herpes simplex? Chlamydia?

And, according to a report published in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, repealing the ban against sodomy would encourage homosexuality and "unravel the moral fabric of the Commonwealth of Virginia," in the words of Del. Richard H. "Dick" Black, R-Loudoun.

The Virginia-Pilot article went on to cite an incident from Blackšs youth when he was briefly kidnapped while hitchhiking by a driver who made homosexual advances against Black and a friend.

"So I’m very sensitive to the web of protections for children and public decency," he told the Norfolk paper.

We’re certainly sorry about this traumatic incident in Black’s early life, but it sounds more like an indictment of hitchhiking to us. Plus, didn’t Moran’s bill continue to, as it certainly should, criminalize the solicitation of sodomy with minors? Third, how in the name of logic is continuing to make an act of intimacy between consenting adults a crime going to discourage homosexuality?

Let’s just call this law for what it is — a bald-faced tool to be used by those on the Cotton Mather end of the political spectrum to persecute homosexuals.

At least Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas have the courage to admit the truth — in those states, consensual sodomy is a crime only if it is practiced by homosexuals.

So, Virginia continues in the company of the 13 other states and Puerto Rico that prefer the sidelong method of discrimination. And, so it will continue, that is, until some member of the General Assembly is caught in flagrante delicto.

Then, you can bet it’ll be decriminalized post haste.

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