Last edited: February 14, 2005

Letter: GOP Should Lead Repeal of ‘Crimes Against Nature’ Law

Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, February 7, 2002
P. O. Box 617, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Fax: 703-373-8450

A new law to ban "all mention of what is probably Virginia’s most commonly violated felony" in schools would become moot if the General Assembly instead passes House Bill 1140, patroned by Republican Del. James Dillard II of Fairfax County ["House panel OKs limits on sex ed," Jan. 31].

By effectively repealing the "crimes against nature" (CAN) statute, HB 1140 will legalize private, non-coercive, non-commercial sexual activity between adults, at the same time that it increases the penalties for sexual activity in public places.

Repeal of the CAN law has widespread public support, as noted in a Rasmussen Research survey of Virginia voters released last year, but more than this, as Del. Dillard said when he introduced this bill, it is "the right thing to do."

Some argue that the law is rarely, if ever, enforced and thus should be left alone. But rarely enforced laws—especially those like this one that are prone to arbitrary and even capricious enforcement—engender disrespect for the law in general.

Moreover, although this law applies to everyone (married or single, male or female, gay or straight), it is disproportionately used against gay men and lesbians. As a result, it unfairly stigmatizes hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying Virginia citizens. This is unconscionable.

Republicans who claim to favor limited government and reduced state intrusion in the private lives of citizens, should exercise leadership on this issue and get the government out of our bedrooms.

Repealing the CAN statute is the right thing to do, both morally and politically.

- Richard E. Sincere Jr., Charlottesville []

Richard E. Sincere Jr. is a member of the national committee of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

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