Last edited: January 02, 2005



  • Statute: Ruled unconstitutional 1980, repealed by the legislature in 1995
  • Case Law: Commonwealth v. Bonadio, 415 A.2d 47 (Pa. 1980)


            1682     A criminal code enacted in this Quaker colony sets the maximum penalty for sodomy at six months in jail, the only non-capital sodomy law in the American colonies. This leniency ends when Quakers lose control of the colony.

            1700     Pennsylvania’s new sodomy law, limited only to men, sets the penalty for a first offense at life imprisonment, with a flogging possible every three months during the first year of imprisonment and, if married, he was to be castrated and his wife offered a divorce.

            1722     Pennsylvania enacts the first law in the colonies requiring the posting of a bond for the good behavior of convicted sodomites being brought into the colony.

            1786     Pennsylvania becomes the first state to abolish the death penalty for sodomy.

            1879     Pennsylvania enacts the nation’s first law explicitly covering fellatio. The law ignores cunnilingus.

            1890     The case of Commonwealth v. King is the only published sodomy case in U.S. history to be officially reported in a newspaper rather than a law reporter.

            1933     An appellate court upholds the conviction of a man for sodomy who asked to strip naked in the courtroom to prove that he was “normal.”

            1946     The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns the conviction of a man for engaging in sodomy with his eight-year-old son after it noted the charge was filed by the man’s housekeeper only after he rebuffed her sexual advances.



Marcus Wyman Memorial Campaign

[Home] [News] [History]