Appeal of Virginia Sodomy Law Argued
September 12, 2000
Box 85333, Richmond, VA, 23293-0001
Fax 804-775-8072 or 775-8090
RICHMOND, Va. (AP)A lawyer representing 10 gay men convicted of
soliciting undercover police officers for sex has told a state appeals court that
Virginias sodomy law should be struck down because it is "broken a million
times a night in this state."
But a lawyer for the state told a three-judge panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals on
Tuesday that the private conduct of married couples has nothing to do with efforts by
Roanoke authorities to combat "cruising" by homosexual men in a city park.
Under Virginia law, oral sex between adultswhether homosexual or heterosexual,
in public or in privateis "crime against nature" that carries up to five
years in prison.
Sam Garrison, the attorney for the gay men, said evidence in the case "is replete
with statements by peoplemen, women, married, unmarried, straight, gaythat
they engage in this conduct."
But Senior Assistant Attorney General John McLees said the court has to consider the
law in the context of its use.
"What relationship do these homosexual cruisers have with married people acting in
private?" he asked. "None. None whatsoever."
The appeals panel is expected to rule by the end of the year.
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