Last edited: December 07, 2004

Gay Republicans Add Voice to Challenge Virginia Sodomy Law

Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia

For Immediate Release, June 9, 2000

Contact: Jeffrey Miller

The state’s leading organization of gay and lesbian Republicans has filed a "friend of the court" brief in a case that challenges the constitutionality of Virginia’s law against sodomy.

The Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia filed the brief in late May with the Virginia Court of Appeals, the state’s 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 state’s 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 In practice, the CAN law is enforced sporadically and unevenly, and typically repealed or struck down in 32 states, and court challenges are pending in several of the remaining jurisdictions.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 relations.

While the state Attorney General’s 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 Senate committee.

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 []

For information on other Log Cabin Republican activities in Virginia, visit

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