Last edited: February 14, 2005

Stein Letter on Sodomy Law Reform Bill Amendments

Gertrude Stein Democratic Club

February 10, 1993

The Honorable Jim Nathanson
Chair, The Committee on the Judiciary D.C. City Council
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club (GSDC) wishes to commend you on your excellent and fair hearing on bill 10-30. You conducted yourself in an exemplary manner and treated everyone with courtesy and respect. We are also very pleased to learn of your tentative schedule for consideration of this legislation.

There are two issues which the GSDC feels very strongly should be addressed at the legislative mark-up on February 10. The following are official positions of GSDC voted on by the membership:

1 - The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club firmly opposes raising the ‘age of consent’ of 16 for sexual activity, currently specified in bill 10-30 reforming the DC sodomy law. This position pertains whether for sodomy itself or for other sexual acts. GSDC strongly supports the retention of the current language contained in 10-30 in respect to the ‘age of consent’.

Further, the GSDC takes the position that the general raising of the ‘age of consent’ or the ‘statutory rape’ age in the District from its present, century-long-established 16, is a highly complex and controversial issue, with wide ramifications, implications, and impacts — both legal and sociological. It is our belief that many segments of the general community would like to be given the opportunity to voice their concerns on this issue. Therefore, should the city council seriously entertain such change in the age, that proposed change should be addressed on its own merits through a separate, ‘free standing’ bill, to which full consideration can be given and on which a hearing can be held. We oppose the altering of the age of consent through hasty amendment to existing bills not open to community input.

2 -The GSDC firmly supports the inclusion of a phrase in bill 10-30 expressly providing that one of its purposes is to reduce discrimination. GSDC and others testified at your hearings on this legislation pointing out that 10-30 will, in fact, reduce discrimination under the Human Rights Act. GSDC believes this change simply recognizes a fact and in the process strengthens the legislation.

Once again, the GSDC applauds you for your expeditious and fair handling of this important legislation.


                                                                                Charles Nichols
                                                                                Chair, Sodomy Reform Committee

CC: Councilmember Charlene Drew Jarvis
       Councilmember John Ray
       Councilmember Harry Thomas
       Councilmember Harold Brazil

 P.O. Box 21067 -Washington, DC 20009

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