Last edited: April 14, 2007


Rhode Island

  • Statute: Repealed 1998; 11-10-1, Crime Against Nature
  • Penalty: 7-20 years
  • Classification: Felony
  • Restrictions: Doesn't apply to married couples.


11-10-1. Abominable and detestable crime against nature

Every person who shall be convicted of the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with any beast, shall be imprisoned not exceeding twenty (20) years nor less than seven (7) years.


            1729     Rhode Island’s new sodomy law creates a statute of limitations of only ten days.

            1798     Rhode Island’s new sodomy law eliminates the death penalty for a first offense, but retains it for a second. No other law in the U.S. had this feature.

            1972     The Rhode Island legislature enacts a unique law to permit compensation to anyone killed or injured as a result of specified crimes, including “the crime against nature.”

Repeal bill

  • H 7585 - Introduced January 28, 1998
    This bill would repeal the "abominable and detestable acts" statute. Passed House, & Senate. Governor signed repeal.
  • H 6160 - Introduced February 4, 1997
    This bill would repeal the "abominable and detestable acts" statute. Died in committee


State v. Lopes, 1996 Summary
In this case in which a heterosexual man was charged with violating Rhode Island's sodomy statute, the ACLU of Rhode Island filed a friend of the court brief arguing that the sodomy law violated the state constitutional right to privacy. Citing an earlier decision, the court simply rejected the challenge and upheld the law. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.

State v. Quitevis, 1996
The ACLU of Rhode Island is handling an appeal for a person found guilty of "loitering for indecent purposes" at an adult video store after allegedly offering to perform oral sex for an undercover police officer. The trial court rejected the defendant's challenge to the constitutionality of the "loitering" ordinance. The defendant entered a nolo plea and the complaint was "filed" for one year.



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