Last edited: December 05, 2004

Lawyer Expands Sodomy-Law Challenge With Straight Couple

Associated Press, March 2, 2001

RICHMOND — A lawyer for 10 men convicted of soliciting sex from undercover police officers in a Roanoke park is broadening his challenge to Virginia’s sodomy statute, seeking to include an appeal from a man convicted of sodomy with a woman in Frederick County.

"There seems to be a widespread misperception that sodomy is something that’s committed only by gay people,’’ attorney Sam Garrison said. "The overwhelming majority of violations of this statute every day and every night in this commonwealth are committed by straight people.’’

In November, the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of 10 men arrested for soliciting sex in Wasena Park and rejected their attack on the state law banning sodomy. The panel ruled that, because the men solicited sex in a public place, they had no legal standing to contest Virginia’s law making consensual oral sex a felony.

In January, the full appeals court refused to reconsider the panel’s decision.

Garrison has filed for a hearing before the state Supreme Court, which has yet to decide whether it will consider it. Garrison’s latest filing on Thursday asks the court to include the case of Fred Leslie Fisher, who was convicted of sodomy with a woman in a Frederick County hotel room.

Garrison says the crimes against nature law improperly criminalizes all acts of oral sex engaged in by consenting adults under any and all circumstances, and claims it violates privacy rights and constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

"In effect, this law makes every adult Virginian an unindicted felon,’’ Garrison said.

Roanoke authorities have said that while the law technically applies to everyone, they only use it to charge people who engage in sex in public places.

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