Last edited: February 14, 2005

Repeal of North Carolina Sodomy Law Introduced

PlanetOut, March 13, 2001

By Matt Alsdorf

SUMMARY: GLBT groups are hoping that this year’s state Senate measure to decriminalize oral and anal intercourse in North Carolina will meet with more success than similar efforts have in recent years.

An effort to amend North Carolina’s sodomy law to allow for consensual oral and anal sex is under way, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird introduced a bill to the state Senate last week that would exempt consenting adults from prosecution for "crimes against nature," but would keep the prohibitions in place for acts done in public or for hire. The News & Record quoted her as saying the current law was a "government stamp of authority" that "lawless people" use to harass gays and lesbians.

Nearly 400 people were prosecuted under the law last year. Conviction of crimes against nature is a felony with a maximum sentence of more than a year in prison.

Similar bills have failed in past years because legislative committees are reticent to bring them to a vote. Lawmakers "are afraid of what could happen in an election because it could be portrayed in an unfavorable way in an eight second sound bite," Deborah Ross, director of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in the News & Record.

Conservative groups are fighting the changes to the sodomy law, arguing that they amount to promotion of the "homosexual lifestyle."

Gay and lesbian groups have successfully challenged the majority of state sodomy laws in the past few decades. However, 12 states including North Carolina still bar sodomy for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and four states continue to prohibit same-sex sodomy only, according to the News & Record.

Jo Wyrick, executive director of Equality NC, a GLBT lobbying group, said the current North Carolina sodomy law violates "a basic right to privacy."

"I think most people take the attitude that what other people do in their own homes is their own business," Wyrick said.

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