Common Legal Questions



Common Legal Questions

This edition of the FAQ was written in the early part of 1994 by the last FAQ Committee. They reflect the best wisdom and knowledge of all the participants on the committee at that time.

Since those days, however, has been overrun by advertising spam of such unbelievable volume that nobody asks questions anymore. There are no “frequently asked questions” on the newsgroup and maintaining an FAQ for it, especially one of the considerable quality found here, is simply not worthwhile or even honest.

Consider this a historical document. It reflects as it existed in its finest, most golden years. Some sections will never be out of date; it’s hard to imagine good advice on oral sex or virginity or even buying a great sex toy ever going out of style. Anatomy doesn’t change although our understanding of it might. Some sections, however, are dreadfully out of date; The sections on Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Legal Issues, even Terms and Acronyms have fallen far behind the times. For lists of current resources, Yahoo might be a better place to start.

United States Sodomy Laws, state by state

In the first column, an M indicates misdemeanor, F is felony.

M 13A-6-65,Sexual Misconduct, 1 year/$2000. Does not apply to married couples.
**ALASKA** Repealed effective 1980*
M 13-1411, Crime Against Nature (anal intercourse), 30 days/$500
M 13-1412, Lewd and Lascivious Acts, 30 days/$500
M 5-14-111, Sodomy, 1 year/$1000, same sex only
Bill passed unanimously "aimed at weirdos and queers who live in a fairyland world and are trying to wreck family life." Signed into law by governor in 1977.
**CALIFORNIA** Repealed effective 1976*
**COLORADO** Repealed effective 1972*
**CONNECTICUT** Repealed effective 1971*
**DELAWARE** Repealed effective 1973*
M 800.02, Unnatural and Lascivious Act, 60 days/$500
F 16-6-2, Sodomy, 1 to 20 years
Upheld as to homosexuals on the grounds that there is no fundamental federal constitutional right to "engage in sodomy." *Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986)*.
M 16-6-15, Solicitation of Sodomy, 1 year/$1000
**HAWAII** Repealed effective 1973*
F 18-6605, Crime Against Nature, 5 years to life
**ILLINOIS** Repealed effective 1962*
First state to repeal sodomy laws, in 1961.
**INDIANA** Repealed effective 1977*
Earlier effort to repeal said legalization might "give us an opportunity to study it more openly, and to see what causes it, in the hope that we can eventually eliminate it."
**IOWA** Repealed effective 1978*
M 21-3505, Sodomy, 6 months/$1000, same sex only
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1992. *Commonwealth v. Wasson*
F 14.89, Crime Against Nature, 5 years/$2000.
Held unconstitutional by Orleans Parish Court, appeal pending.
**MAINE** Repealed effective 1976*
F 27-553, Sodomy, 10 years
F 27-554, Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices, 10 years/$1000
Found not to apply to noncommercial, hetrosexual activity in private. *Schochet v. State, 1990*.
F 272-34, Crime Against Nature, 20 years
F 272-35, Unnatural and Lascivious Acts, 5 years/$100-$1000
Crime Against Nature applies only to anal intercourse. Unnatural and Lascivious Acts has been held not apply to private consensual adult behavior. *Commonwealth v. Balthazar*, Supreme Judicial Court 1974. It has been suggested that such a ruling would apply to Crime Against Nature.
F 750.158, Crime Against Nature, 15 years
Held unconstitutional as applied to private, consensual adult behavior. *Michigan Organization for Human Rights v. Kelly* (Wayne County Circ. Ct. 1990), no appeal taken, only applies to Wayne County. Held consitutional by Michigan Court of Apeals (*People v. Brashier*) 1992, effective outside of Wayne County. Decision is needed from the Michigan Supreme Court.
M 609.293, Sodomy, 1 year/$3000
Minnesota's law also prohibits sex between humans and birds.
F 97-29-59, Unnatural Intercourse, 10 years
M 566.090, Sexual Misconduct, 1 year/$1000, same sex only
F 45-5-505, Deviate Sexual Conduct, 10 years/$50,000, same sex only
**NEBRASKA** Repealed effective 1978 *
**NEVADA** Repealed effective 1993*
**NEW HAMPSHIRE** Repealed effective 1975*
**NEW JERSEY** Repealed effective 1979*
**NEW MEXICO** Repealed effective 1975*
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1980, *People v. Onofre*
F 14-177, Crime Against Nature, 10 years / discretionary fine
**NORTH DAKOTA** Repealed effective 1975*
**OHIO** Repealed effective 1974*
F 21-886, Crime Against Nature, 10 years
A 1977 effort to repeal sodomy laws was met with a vote-delaying "chorus of giggles."
**OREGON** Repealed effective 1972*
Held unconstitutional by state Supreme Court 1980. *Commonwealth v. Bonadio*
F 11-10-1, Crime Against Nature, 7-20 years. Includes "ordinary extramarital intercourse."
F 16-15-120, Buggery, 5 years/$500
The law actually legislates the "abominable crime of buggery." No further statutory explaination given.
**SOUTH DAKOTA** Repealed effective 1977*
M 39-13-510, Homosexual Acts, 30 days/$50, same sex only
Found unconstitutional by state Court of Appeals, *England v. Dallas*, no appeal taken. Effective 1994 with the dismissal of *Morales v. State*.
**UTAH **
M 76-5-403, Sodomy, 6 months/$1000
In 1982, the Republican State Convention added a plank to its platform stating that homosexuals should be **denied** the civil, political, social, and economic rights guaranteed to others.
**VERMONT** Repealed effective 1977*
F 18.2-361, Crime Against Nature, 5-20 years
**WASHINGTON** Repealed effective 1976*
**WEST VIRGINIA** Repealed effective 1976*
**WISCONSIN** Repealed effective 1983*
**WYOMING** Repealed effective 1977*

U.S. Possesions

**D.C.** Repealed effective 1993*
**AMERICAN SAMOA** Repealed effective ?*
**GUAM** Repealed effective ?*
**N. MARIANA IS.** Repealed effective ?*
**VIRGIN ISLANDS** Repealed effective ?*
Criminal, penalties unknown.

Compiled by Bob Summersgill xe605C@GWUVM.GWU.EDU, DC Sodomy-Law reform coalition.

As of August 6, 1994

Alabama 16
Alaska 16
Arizona 18
Arkansas 16
California 18
Colorado 16
Connecticut 16
D.C. 16
Delaware 16
Florida 18
Georgia 16
Hawaii 16[3]
Idaho 18
Illinois 16
Indiana 16
Iowa 14
Kansas 16
Kentucky 14[1]
Louisiana 17
Maine 14
Maryland 16
Massachusetts 18
Michigan 16
Minnesota 16
Mississippi 18[2]
Missouri 16
Montana 16
Nebraska 16
Nevada 16
New Hampshire 16
New Jersey 16
New Mexico 13
New York 17
North Carolina 16
North Dakota 18
Ohio 16
Oklahoma 18
Oregon 18
Pennsylvania 14
Rhode Island 16
South Carolina 16
South Dakota 16
Tennessee 18
Texas 17
Utah 14
Vermont 15
Virginia 16
Washington 18
West Virginia 16
Wisconsin 18
Wyoming 18


Contributed by: Bill Casti