Last edited: February 14, 2005

Minnesota Judge Says Sodomy Ruling Applies to Every Adult in State

Three States in 2001 Have Now Upheld the Right to Privacy

National Gay And Lesbian Task Force, July 2, 2001
1700 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC
Press Release
Contact: David Elliot, Communications Director
202-332-6483 ext. 3303
800-757-6476 pager

A state district judge in Minnesota today ruled that a recent decision striking down the state’s sodomy law applies to every adult.

The decision means that Minnesota is the third state this year to move away from antiquated laws that have been used against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. In April, an Arkansas circuit court judge found that the state’s ban on consensual sex between adult, same-sex couples is a violation of the state’s constitution. And in May, Arizona Gov. Jane Hall signed a bill repealing that state’s sodomy laws.

Monday’s ruling in Minnesota came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. In May of this year, State District Court Judge Delila F. Pierce initially ruled that the sodomy law is unconstitutional. After that ruling, the ACLU asked the judge to certify her ruling as a class action so that there would be no question that it would apply to every adult. Today, the judge granted the ACLU’s request.

"For centuries, sodomy laws have been used as a weapon against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, sometimes with very tragic results," said NGLTF Executive Director Lorri L. Jean. "We commend those who have bravely fought to overturn this law, both at the legislative level and in the courts. Minnesota was the first state in the U.S. to pass a sexual orientation civil rights law that included gender identity. Now it is the latest state to reject an antiquated law that compromises our right to privacy."

Four states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri — have sodomy laws that single out same-sex relationships, although Missouri’s law has been struck down by a lower court. 11 other states have sodomy laws that outlaw some forms of both heterosexual and homosexual activity.

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