Last edited: December 07, 2004


Log Cabin Republicans Launch Campaign to Reform Virginia Sodomy Statute

Gay.com, January 24, 2002

The Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia has launched a campaign in support of a bill (HB 1140) introduced by Del. James Dillard, a Republican from Fairfax County, to eliminate criminal penalties for sodomy between consenting adults in private. Sodomy is now a felony in Virginia punishable by up to five years in prison under the stateís Crimes Against Nature (CAN) statute, which outlaws all acts of oral or anal sex, including those between husband and wife. Del. Dillardís bill, which would also increase penalties for public sex from a misdemeanor to a felony, has been referred to the House Courts of Justice Committee.

According to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Virginia is one of only 13 states that still have a sodomy law on the books, and the law has been selectively enforced against gay men and lesbians. Jeffrey Miller, president of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia, said, "The CAN statute is wrong not only because it punishes private, voluntary behavior, but because it stigmatizes an entire class of people by defining their behavior in the criminal code as a felony. Furthermore, those convicted under this law will have a felony conviction on their record, harming their chances to gain employment or receive a professional license, all for acts that most adults engage in."

Log Cabin Republicans are working with Virginians for Justice, a non-partisan, statewide gay rights organization, and Virginia Partisans, a gay Democratic organization, to win support for Del. Dillardís bill, and all three groups recently co-sponsored a reception together for state legislators in Richmond. Log Cabin members are lobbying members of the Committee and have begun a publicity campaign urging voters to contact their state representatives voicing support for the bill. The Club is also contacting newspaper editorial boards around the state urging their support for CAN reform.

Virginiaís legislative session lasts sixty days. CAN reform efforts have fallen short in the past two legislative sessions, but Del. Dillardís support is seen as critical because it marks the first time a sodomy reform bill has had a Republican patron.

The Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia is a group of mainstream gay and lesbian Republicans who support a more open and inclusive Republican Party. A copy of HB 1140 and updates on CAN reform can be found at [http://www.valogcabin.org/canreform/]. More information about the club can be found at its website, www.VaLogCabin.org.

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Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia Email: info@VaLogCabin.org On the Web: www.VaLogCabin.org

Contact: David Lampo at (202) 789-5286 or Jeffrey Miller at (202) 293-7922


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