Last edited: February 06, 2005



  • Statute: Repealed 1976


            1853     The Washington Territory is created out of the Oregon Territory and receives all Oregon law. Because the operative Oregon criminal code doesn’t mention sodomy, it becomes legal in Washington. Had the Territory been created just a year later after Oregon outlawed sodomy, things would have been different.

            1889     Washington is the first state in the nation to adopt a Constitution with an explicit right to privacy therein.

            1893     After the Washington Supreme Court found that there was no sodomy law in the state, but that the common-law offenses statute was sufficient for prosecution, the legislature nevertheless enacts a sodomy law. Governor John Harte McGraw refuses to sign the bill, allowing it to become law without his signature, the only time in U.S. history that has happened.

            1909     Washington enacts the nation’s first law forbidding newspapers from reporting news of sodomy-related crimes.



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