Last edited: February 14, 2005

Virginia Sodomy Law Challenged

State Defending Law Against Suit From Men Caught Soliciting Sex

Focus on the Family, October 10, 2000

By Mark Cowan, correspondent

SUMMARY: Three judges of the Virginia Court of Appeals are currently considering a challenge to that state’s law forbidding sodomy.

Parks are supposed to be a place where people can go for exercise and relaxation. But in Roanoke, Va., some were using the parks for sexual gratification. Now, 10 men convicted of soliciting undercover officers for oral sex are challenging the state’s sodomy law.

"The statue, which creates the felony of sodomy, is on its face unconstitutional as an over-broad attempt to regulate the private sexual behavior of consenting adults," said attorney Sam Garrison, who is representing the men.

Joe Glover, of Virginia’s Family Policy Network, contends Garrison is stretching the law’s intent.

"This law is only invoked when you have situations like Sam Garrison’s clients in public parks soliciting sex from perfect strangers," Glover said. "Obviously, what they really want, is they want to be able to have sexual activity between men in public places anywhere, anytime."

David Botkins, spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, expressed support for the state’s law.

"There is no right to commit homosexual sodomy, despite the defendants’ arguments to the contrary," Botkins said. "Almost every court in Virginia and the United States Supreme Court itself have all upheld the constitutionality of the law in question."

He added that should the law be overturned on privacy grounds, statutes against prostitution and assisted suicide would be threatened.

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