Last edited: January 03, 2005


Sodomy Law Reaffirmed

Sodomy Law Furthers "Moral Welfare," Says Georgia Court

ACLU Newswire, March 12, 1996


Ten years after Bowers v. Hardwick -- the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of Georgia's sodomy statute -- the high court of Georgia ruled Monday that the state's sodomy law is a legitimate use of state power to further "the moral welfare of the public." The challenge to the law was brought by L. Chris Christiansen, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for seeking oral sex from a sheriff's deputy. Christiansen, fined $500 and put on probation for a year, argued that the state constitution's guarantee of privacy and free expression shields adults from prosecution for private consensual, non-commercial sodomy. While few are ever prosecuted under sodomy statutes (which remain in 19 states), such laws are often used as a pretext to deny lesbian and gay men basic civil rights. In recent years, several courts have even invoked sodomy laws to determine job discrimination and child custody cases. (ACLU Newswire is a compilation of the day's breaking civil liberties stories, available at and American Online -- keyword "ACLU".)

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