Last edited: November 15, 2003

Arizona Lawmakers Wrangle Over Sodomy Repeal

DataLounge, March 29, 2001

PHOENIX, Az. — The Arizona Republic reports state representatives were at each others’ throats this week over the proposed repeal of Arizona’s sodomy law, in a debate that saw the abandonment of even the most basic standards of public decorum.

The debate apparently began with openly gay Rep. Steve May ridiculing the enforcement of the law. He notes that in 1944, police used the law as a pretext to invade a private residence, "because they heard the crime of fellatio being committed from outside."

Fellow Republican Rep. Randy Graf suggested that instead of rescinding the sodomy law, police and state officials adopt a "don’t ask, don’t tell" approach to citizens’ private sexual conduct. This suggestion prompted a loud "Oh, God!" from Rep. May, who spent the better part of two years fighting the military on its enforcement of that clause.

The Republic reports Democratic Rep. Bill Brotherton successfully attached the sodomy repeal measure to a bill sponsored by arch-conservative Rep. Jeff Hatch-Miller. Hatch-Miller’s bill closing a loophole in the state’s child pornography laws was now the vehicle abolishing state prohibitions on sodomy and oral sex between consenting adults.

Hatch-Miller, needless to say, was not pleased with this development. Railing against House members seeking to "advance their gay agenda," the lawmaker voted against his own bill and then threatened to kill any bill sponsored by a gay legislator (the newspaper notes there are three in the state House).

Rep. Karen Johnson, notorious for railing against what she terms the pernicious evils of homosexuality, took the House floor to demand the Arizona Legislature not condone sodomy, oral sex or other crimes against nature by rescinding the law. The Republic reports she defended the sodomy statutes by saying,"these are not feel-good laws."

The newspaper wryly noted that some might be inclined to take issue with that characterization.

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