Last edited: December 06, 2004

Virginia Upholds Sodomy Law

Advocate, November 23–27, 2000

The Virginia court of appeals ruled Tuesday that the state’s sodomy law was not unconstitutionally applied in the case of 10 gay men arrested in 1998 for cruising in a Roanoke park, The Roanoke Times reports. The court upheld the conviction of the men, who had challenged the state’s sodomy law on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. The three-judge panel of the court ruled that the men had no legal standing to challenge the law on privacy grounds since they were seeking sex in public. The court did not address one of the arguments that Sam Garrison, the men’s attorney, made against the law: that married couples can be charged with sodomy for engaging in sex in their own home. Virginia’s sodomy law makes oral or anal sex a felony, regardless of the sexual orientation of the individuals involved. "Whatever may be the constitutional privacy rights of one who engages in sodomy in private, those rights do not attach to one who does the same thing in public," Judge Jere M.H. Willis wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Elvis Gene DePriest, et al. v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 2000

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