Last edited: March 02, 2002


Calendar for January

[January]    [February]    [March]    [April]    [May]    [June]    [July]    [August]    [September]    [October]    [November]    [December]

January 1

New laws take effect repealing consensual sodomy laws in Illinois (1962), Oregon (1972), Hawaii (1973), Ohio (1974), California (1976), Guam (1978), Iowa (1978), Alaska (1980), and American Samoa (1980).

January 2

1806 — Ohio repeals its common-law reception statute. Since it has no sodomy law, sodomy becomes legal and remains so for nearly eighty years.

1992 — The Idaho Court of Appeals reaffirms a 1913 decision that a sentence of life imprisonment for private, consensual sodomy is both permissible and constitutional.

January 3

1757 — In England, the 18-year-old son of Lord Denbigh successfully resists an attempt to extort money from him on grounds of his being a sodomite.

1911 — The Washington Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction over the contention that the requirement that all jurors be taxpayers created a biased jury and after leading questions were asked.

1918 — The Louisiana Supreme Court overturns the forfeiture of bail of a man convicted of sodomy assessed against him because he had not appeared for trial due to an oversight.

1980 — A Michigan appellate court upholds the state’s sodomy law against vagueness and sex-discrimination charges.

January 4

1957 — The Montana Supreme Court rules that a man convicted of sodomy should get a new trial. He had been convicted simply because he spent a lot of time hanging around his partner.

January 5

1919 — New York City police raid the Everard baths and arrest 10 men for sexual activity.

1921 — The Massachusetts Supreme Court upholds the nuisance conviction of a man for operating a Gay bath house.

1977 — A bill to reinstate sodomy as a crime in Indiana is introduced into the House. It is defeated in a committee by a vote of 6-4.

1984 — Illinois repeals its "lewd fondling or caress" law, more than two decades after repealing its sodomy law.

1993 — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals finds that the solicitation and touching of an undercover police officer constitutes "disorderly conduct" under state law.

1997 — A British tabloid accuses Conservative M.P. Jerry Hayes with having an affair in 1991 with a then-18-year-old male. At the time, 18 was under the age of consent.

January 6

1950 — California increases the maximum penalty for sodomy from 10 to 20 years.

January 7

1829 — William Maxwell is the last English sailor hanged for sodomy.

1876 — New Mexico passes a sodomy law with a penalty of up to life imprisonment. Prior to this, it had relied on the English common law.

1957 — The American Civil Liberties Union publishes a position paper on sodomy laws and states that it supports the existence of such laws.

1983 — A Georgia appellate court rules that accomplices’ testimony in sodomy cases needs no corroboration, even though state law specifically requires it.

1986 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals overturns a crime against nature conviction for cunnilingus, because actual penetration of the vagina had not been proven.

January 8

1957 — The Maryland Court of Appeals upholds a sodomy conviction based on uncorroborated testimony of consenting partners.

1959 — The New York Court of Appeals upholds the loitering conviction of a Gay man. The dissent feels that there is insufficient evidence of solicitation, something required under the law.

1964 — The Indiana Supreme Court upholds the right of a trial court to allow evidence of previous acts of "abnormal sexual intercourse" to be admitted into evidence in sodomy cases.

January 9

1841 — Alabama passes its first law against sodomy, going off the common law of England, and establishing a penalty of 2-10 years in prison.

1868 — Colorado prohibits voting, holding office, jury service, or giving testimony in court by anyone convicted of sodomy.

1919 — The California Supreme Court strikes down the state’s law prohibiting fellatio and cunnilingus because the state constitution requires all criminal laws to be understood clearly and the words "fellatio" and "cunnilingus" are Latin words not in general usage.

1941 — The Rhode Island Supreme Court rules that being called a "cocksucker" in a moment of heated anger is not actionable as slander. The Court refuses to use "cocksucker" in the opinion, instead referring to it as "a filthy term meaning coition by one man with another per os."

January 10

1924 — A California appellate court rules that charging a person with "an assault to commit the crime against nature" is sufficient, because "every person of ordinary intelligence understands what that crimes is."

1930 — The Washington Supreme Court rules that one partner in an act of sodomy can be convicted even if the other is acquitted.

1952 — The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the conviction of a man arrested in Franklin Square by police for solicitation. He is the seventh arrestee in a single night by just one officer. The Court feels that this proves entrapment.

1954 — In England, Peter Wildeblood, Michael Pitt-Rivers, and Lord Montagu are arrested on a sodomy charge in a case in which the government later admits that it used forged evidence. All three are political opponents of the Churchill Administration.

1961 — The New Jersey Supreme Court suspends, until he is "cured," an attorney who had sex with another male.

1966 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rules that a person accused of sodomy can be convicted on the lesser charge of an attempt.

1974 — The Missouri Court of Appeals refuses to consider sociological articles in a challenge to the state’s sodomy law.

January 11

1908 — The Massachusetts Supreme Court, in interpreting the state’s law banning "unnatural and lascivious acts," says that it covers "any and all" unnatural and lascivious acts, but never defines the term.

January 12

1706 — Pennsylvania eliminates the castration penalty from its sodomy law.

1939 — The Georgia Supreme Court rules that two women can not be prosecuted for sodomy under state law.

1950 — The Pennsylvania Superior Court overturns a sodomy conviction because the trial judge told the jury that "the crimes as charged were actually committed by someone," and the appellate court feels that this prejudiced the jury.

1962 — The North Carolina Supreme Court upholds the right of the state to amend sodomy indictments.

1966 — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upholds the sentence of 18 months for consensual sodomy solely because it was within the 10-year statutory maximum.

1987 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds the "crime against nature" law provision covering solicitation for compensation and rejects a discriminatory enforcement argument.

1994 — The Texas Supreme Court dismisses a sodomy law challenge argued more than a year earlier. Three of the five members of the majority are up for reelection in 1994, and the majority claims it cannot make a constitutional decision on a criminal law in a civil case.

January 13

1923 — A Pennsylvania appellate court upholds the right of trial courts to ignore state law that requires sodomy and solicitation to be tried in separate courts and try them in the same court.

1956 — The West Virginia Attorney General issues an opinion that cunnilingus is covered by the state’s sodomy law.

January 14

1949 — The Utah Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction, but three justices argue against criminal penalties for sodomy, urging "treatment" instead. This is the first sodomy opinion in the United States to refer to the Kinsey studies.

1954 — A Pennsylvania court upholds the right of a trial court to exclude exculpatory psychiatric testimony from sodomy trials.

1966 — The North Carolina Supreme Court receives a sodomy case in which the defendant claims that homosexuality is an illness, and therefore, can not be punished as a crime. The Court does not reject the argument, it merely ignores it.

1969 — The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the conviction of a military personnel for sodomy.

1970 — The Texas Court of Appeals upholds the assault conviction of a man for putting hands into a teenage male’s pants, even though the law under which the man was prosecuted explicitly limits itself to use of a "whip or cowhide.

1976 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejects a prisoner’s imaginative sodomy defense: he dreamed that the other prisoner was a woman.

1999 — An Ohio appellate court reverses an offensive solicitation conviction against an undercover police officer who initiated a conversation.

January 15

1892 — An Ohio newspaper reports the arrest of a man for throwing a kettle of hot soup over his wife because she wouldn’t leave the house so that he could "sleep with" a man he brought home.

1958 — An Ohio appellate court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man while conceding that there is evidence that he was framed.

1958 — A Texas appellate court upholds the right of the state to try sodomy defendants without an attorney.

1968 — The Virginia Supreme Court rules that merely placing the mouth on a penis does not violate the state’s sodomy law.

January 16

1899 — A Pennsylvania court finds the 1879 sodomy statute, as amended to include oral sex, unconstitutional on technical grounds.

1926 — An Ohio appellate court prohibits the introduction of prior acts of sodomy into a trial.

1985 — A new sex offenses law repealing the consensual sodomy law takes effect in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

January 17

1977 — The Arkansas Supreme Court rules that the drunk tank of the local jail is a public place for sexual purposes.

1979 — The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals upholds a "crime against nature" conviction even though the prosecuting witness denied all accusations against the defendant.

1983 — The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Arkansas sodomy law against privacy and discrimination challenges.

January 18

1923 — The Virginia Supreme Court interprets the 1916 oral sex law literally and reverses the conviction of a man and woman arrested for oral sex, saying that only people of the same sex can be prosecuted under the law.

1949 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a man over his contention that he "was just giving the kid a blow job."

1965 — An Ohio appellate court finds unconstitutionally vague the state’s law banning solicitation for an "unnatural sexual act."

1971 — A California appellate court overturns an oral copulation conviction because the undercover police officer making the arrest allowed himself to be fellated before making the arrest.

1989 — The Kansas Supreme Court rejects the contention that a man convicted of sodomy was "married" to his partner, thus blocking his prosecution under the state’s discriminatory sodomy law.

January 19

1851 — The "State of Deseret," better known as Utah, enacts a criminal code that makes sodomy illegal only between males, and sets the penalty at a prison term and/or fine in the discretion of the court.

1887 — Newspapers report an apparent blackmail ring in Greenville, Ohio that leads to seven indictments and one conviction for sodomy, but the Governor of Ohio pardons the one convicted.

1897 — The Missouri Supreme Court upholds a conviction for assault to commit sodomy of a St. Louis police officer who attempted sodomy with another male after threatening to arrest him unless he accompanied him to a lumber yard, where the attempt was made.

1900 — An Ohio newspaper reports that a man was arrested for sex with his 13-year-old male companion. Both claim that the younger partner’s mother "gave" him to the other.

1949 — The Illinois Supreme Court overturns the contempt citation of a man convicted of consensual sex with another man for refusing to be interviewed by a psychiatrist under the state’s psychopathic offender law. The trial court held him in contempt, then tried and jailed him after he would not give in.

1995 — The Idaho Court of Appeals rules that the sodomy law can not be applied to married couples.

January 20

1953 — Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin is arrested in Los Angeles for sex with another man.

January 21

1915 — A California appellate court upholds the lewd and lascivious acts conviction of a man and ponders human sexuality in a long paragraph.

1952 — The Montana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because of testimony of other alleged sexual partners of the defendant. In addition, the only evident sex was spanking, something not covered by the sodomy law.

1958 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rules that charges of homosexual indecency must be corroborated more stringently than charges of heterosexual

1966 — The Minnesota Supreme Court reverses a sodomy conviction because the public was excluded from the trial and, in dictum, states that a husband and wife are not immune from prosecution for sodomy. indecency.

1970 — A federal court in Texas strikes down the Texas sodomy law as overly broad in its application but, a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court reverses on a technicality.

January 22

1703 — In the Netherlands, a Gabriel de Berger is sentenced to death for falsely having accused other men of soliciting him for sex.

1887 — Fourteen-year-old William Paddock is committed to an insane asylum in Utah for his homoerotic activities. He spends six months there before being discharged as "not insane."

1914 — An Alabama appellate court rules that fellatio violates the state’s "crime against nature" law.

1937 — The Minnesota Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man captured with the aid of postal inspectors. The Court also says that the law applies to married couples.

1979 — State Senator Joseph Maressa withdraws his bill from the New Jersey legislature to reinstate sodomy as a crime, after immense negative public response.

January 23

1964 — The Indiana Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction after the sole corroborating witness said that he could not recall seeing the act.

January 24

1967 — The Indiana Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law.

January 25

1800 — Virginia eliminates the death penalty for sodomy for free persons, but retains the death penalty for slaves.

January 26

1973 — A California appellate court rules that the First Amendment does not protect the right of actors to engage in sodomy or oral copulation for a film.

1996 — The Tennessee Court of Appeals strikes down the state’s sodomy law on privacy grounds. The Tennessee Supreme Court declines to review the decision and asks the Court of Appeals to publish its decision to make it precedent.

1999 — A New York court rules that the state’s prostitution law covers homosexual prostitution.

January 27

1909 — For the third time in 16 years, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reverses a sodomy conviction for fellatio, stating that it is not covered by the sodomy law.

1976 — The Michigan Supreme Court splits evenly, with two justices not sitting, on the question of whether the state’s "gross indecency" law can be applied to consenting adults.

January 28

1965 — The Maine Supreme Court rules that penetration is an essential element in the crime of sodomy.

1977 — The Kentucky Supreme Court rules that the alleged homosexuality of a sodomy "victim" is irrelevant under state law.

January 29

1954 — The New Mexico Supreme Court rules that emission is not necessary to prove sodomy.

1973 — The Arkansas Supreme Court rejects a challenge to the state’s sodomy law on the ground that it establishes religion.

January 30

1827 — Illinois enacts a law prohibiting anyone convicted of sodomy from holding public office.

1951 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a man based on police looking into the window of a restroom.

1959 — The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that sodomy convictions can be secured largely on circumstantial evidence.

1961 — The New Mexico House of Representatives votes 37-28 in favor of a revised criminal code that includes a repeal of the state’s sodomy law. This is the first vote by a U.S. legislative body to repeal a sodomy law. This bill refers to sodomitical relations as "variant sexual practice," something unique in U.S. history.

1978 — The Louisiana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because of testimony given in the trial trying to show that the defendant was Gay. The Court said that whether the defendant was Gay or not was irrelevant under the state’s sodomy law.

January 31

1729 — A Prussian baker is executed for fellating another man who later died, according to the court, of "exhaustion."

1913 — Oregon amends its sodomy law to include any act of "sexual perversity," thus including not only oral sex, put any other form of erotica. The penalty also is increased from a maximum of 5 years to a maximum of 15.

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