Last edited: November 15, 2003

Letter: PFLAG Mom Says Repeal the Law

Arizona Republic, March 1, 2000
Box 1950, Phoenix, AZ 85001
Fax: 602-271-8933

I was appalled by Mark Steele’s editorial regarding the removal of three laws that govern adult sexual activity in Arizona. Mr. Steele’s ignorance was evident and he clearly did not do his homework before writing this editorial.

I would like to examine the laws that Mr. Steele holds so near and dear to his heart. The "sodomy law," as Mr. Steele calls it, says nothing about restricting the act of sodomy between consenting adults. Arizona Statute 13-1411, defined as the infamous "Crime Against Nature" law, states that "A person who knowingly and without force commits the infamous crime against nature with an adult is guilty of a class three misdemeanor." The interpretation of this law by the courts is that the only legal sex act in the state of Arizona is sexual intercourse performed by a man and a woman while utilizing the missionary position.

This ridiculous law makes criminals out of the majority of Arizonans. I wonder if Mr. Steele is careful to uphold the letter of the law while engaging in relations with his wife? Personally, I find it outrageous to think that the State of Arizona can dictate what I can and cannot do behind closed doors with my husband of 15 years.

Mr. Steele fears that the removal of the so-called "sodomy Law" would encourage "illicit behaviors" that would increase the spread of AIDS. The fact is people, gay and straight, become infected with the AIDS virus from the transmission of body fluids from an infected person. According to the Centers for Disease Control the fastest growing group of individuals who are be infected with the HIV virus are women. Wake up Mr. Steele! AIDS is not just spread by gay men who engage in sodomy. Many heterosexuals contract AIDS during sex while using the missionary position, which is legal in the state of Arizona.

Additionally, Mr. Steele feels that the removal of these laws will lead to the legal marriage of three or more people. Worse yet, he fears the legalization of marriages that could include an animal. This is a ridiculous assumption! The sodomy law in France was removed by Napoleon hundreds of years ago and to this day, their culture does not condone marriages with more than two people or animals.

Mr. Steele also stated that our "laws are based in morality and that the Bible is the foundation in which they are centered." He bases his beliefs on the book of Leviticus, Chapter 18. Once again, Mr. Steele did not do his homework. Yes, Leviticus does state that "man shall not lie with man," but it also forbids the consumption of shellfish, wearing clothing with mixed fibers, and condemns women who work outside of the home. Does Mr. Steele really endorse each and every law that is stated in Leviticus, or does he realize that the Bible and its teachings are reflective of another time, thousands of years ago. Bible teachings, like our laws, need to be interpreted in order to reflect the times we live in. That is why our judicial system allows for changes to our laws so that they can grow and evolve as societal needs change.

The bottom line is that these archaic laws have not been enforced in many years. These laws have only been used to prevent the passage of legislation that would extend equal civil right protections to lesbians and gays in our community. I think Napoleon would agree with me when I say, these laws have no place in our law books and are long overdue for removal. Mr. Steele would serve our community well by supporting legislation that would get our government out of the bedrooms of consenting adults.

– Nancy Wood, President, PFLAG Phoenix

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