Gay Republicans Add Voice to Challenge Virginia Sodomy Law
Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern
For Immediate Release, June 9, 2000
Contact: Jeffrey Miller
The states leading organization of gay and lesbian Republicans has filed a
"friend of the court" brief in a case that challenges the constitutionality of
Virginias law against sodomy.
The Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia filed the brief in late May with the
Virginia Court of Appeals, the states intermediate appellate court. The appeals case
comes from Roanoke, where several gay men were convicted under the sodomy law for
soliciting in a public park.
The states so-called "crime against nature" law prohibits all oral and
anal sex, for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, including married couples, and in private
as well as in public. In practice, the CAN law is enforced sporadically and unevenly, and
typically repealed or struck down in 32 states, and court challenges are pending in
several of the remaining jurisdictions.
The Log Cabin brief focuses on privacy rights under the Virginia adults in a private
setting represent the ultimate type of "privacy", and should be protected from
government interference, the group said.
The brief recognizes legitimate government interest in limiting sexual activities in
public places, but says the Virginia CAN law goes too far in trying to regulate private
While the state Attorney Generals office did not consent to the filing of the
brief, the Log Cabin group submitted the document and asked the court to accept it. The
case will likely be argued before the Court of Appeals later this year.
Earlier this year, the Log Cabin club unanimously called on the Virginia General
Assembly to repeal the CAN law as archaic, intrusive and inappropriate. A reform bill to
reduce criminal penalties did pass the House of Delegates in February, but then died in a
The group said the legislative progress this year, the first under Republican control,
was encouraging. Bills to reform the sodomy law had never been released from committee
during the many years of Democratic control in the legislature.
Log Cabin said it will continue to promote legislative revision of the CAN statute, as
well as pursuing the challenge in the courts. Additional information on CAN reform efforts
(including the text of the Log Cabin brief) is available at [http://www.valogcabin.org/canreform/]
For information on other Log Cabin Republican activities in Virginia, visit http://welcome.to/lcrnova
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