Last edited: November 15, 2003

Arizona Governor Signs Sodomy Repeal

The Advocate, May 10, 2001

The governor of Arizona signed a bill Tuesday repealing a state law that outlawed sodomy, oral sex, and cohabitation by unmarried couples. "At the end of the day I returned to one of my most basic beliefs about government: It does not belong in our private lives," Gov. Jane Hull, a Republican, said in signing the bill. In a letter explaining her decision, Hull wrote that the laws being repealed were "unenforced and unenforceable.... Keeping archaic laws on the books does not promote high moral standards. Instead it teaches the lesson that laws are made to be broken." After the Arizona legislature passed the repeal, Hull received 6,000 calls and letters urging a veto, according to The Arizona Republic. She received about 3,600 requests to sign the bill. Now that she has signed the bill, state senator David Peterson (R-Mesa) says he is exploring options to put the issue before voters in a referendum. Peterson says that if opponents of the new bill can gather 80,000 signatures in 90 days, they could stall the repeal until a referendum could be held. Openly gay state representative Steve May told the Republic that any politician who tries to reinstate the laws would be "laughed out of office.... Let them go to the ballot. We’ll watch them waste all their money." There are 14 states with sodomy laws still on the books, according to Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, Kansas, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Idaho.

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