Last edited: March 18, 2006



  • Statute: Repealed 1974


            1815     Ohio outlaws adultery, and one of its provisions may prohibit sexual relations between women, when it forbids married women from having sexual intercourse with other “person,” whereas the prohibition for men is limited to “other women.” The law lasts nine years before being changed.

            1876     Ohio becomes the first state in the nation to outlaw the possession of “sex toys.”

            1885     Ohio outlaws sodomy for the first time, and there is evidence that the law was enacted solely as a political embarrassment for the Governor, who was hinted as being Gay by an opponent newspaper.

            1886     An Ohio appellate court becomes the first in the nation to rule that two women can not be prosecuted for sodomy.

            1895     An Ohio court is the first in the nation to decide that an act of extramarital sodomy constitutes adultery.

            1908     Ohio becomes the first state in the nation to prohibit probation for anyone convicted of sodomy.

            1953     Columbus police set up a national dragnet to catch a man who engaged in consensual sexual relations with seven other men. The New York Times assists by opening mail sent to a box at the newspaper.

            1957     An Ohio court, handling a divorce case, is the first in the nation to find a constitutional right of married couples to engage in sodomy.

            1965     An Ohio appellate court is the first in the nation to strike down a statute banning solicitation for an “unnatural sex act,” the court noting that the term is impossible to define.

            1965     The first case in U.S. federal court raising Civil War-era civil rights statutes to block prosecution on sodomy charges is lost when a judge rules against the defendant.

            1972     Ohio enacts a new criminal code and repeals its sodomy law. This code is the first in the nation to adopt gender-neutral sexual assault laws, and the first to adopt “modern” references to sexual activity, omitting references to “perversion” or “unnatural.”



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