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Anti-Sodomy Law Remains on the Statute Books in South Carolina a Decade After Being Invalidated by the Supreme Court


A landmark Supreme Court case in 2003 invalidated sodomy laws across the United States, but that has not stopped them remaining on the books of 12 states including South Carolina.

In a recent report the Associated Press highlighted how a dozen states retain anti-sodomy laws more than 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they are unconstitutional.

The report said gay rights groups contend police have used anti-sodomy laws to target gay men in the state of Louisiana. "But state lawmakers sided with religious and conservative groups in refusing to repeal the law," AP reported.

Last year police in East Baton Rouge Parish arrested gay men for "attempted crimes against nature" using the anti-sodomy law. The sting operation in the southern state led to a national outcry, AP reported.

The report said 14 states had anti-sodomy laws on their books at the time of the landmark decision - Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, said only Virginia and Montana have repealed the laws in the wake of the ruling.

In addition to Louisiana, anti-sodomy laws remain in South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

In the case of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to bar consensual sex between adults, calling it a violation of the 14th Amendment. In that case police in Houston, Texas, arrested two men who were having sex. They were charged and convicted under Texas' law of "deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex." They challenged the anti-sodomy statute as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and were successful in the nation's highest court.

Sex crimes receive a lot of attention and can lead to jury prejudice. This can impact the defendant's ability to receive a fair trial. A Columbia sex crimes lawyer will provide a vigorous defense if you are charged with one of these crimes. Call Masella Law at 803.749.9990.

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