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Lawsuit Challenges Mississippi's Sodomy Law

MS

A lawsuit filed by five anonymous Mississippi residents argues that the state’s sodomy law is unconstitutional. Citing a 2003 ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided that sodomy was constitutionally protected under the 14th Amendment, the lawsuit states that Mississippi’s “unnatural intercourse law” is indistinguishable from those overturned in Georgia and Texas.

According to The Clarion Ledger, the law states:

“Every person who shall be convicted of the detestable and abominable crime against nature committed with mankind or with a beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of not more than ten years.”

The lawsuit not only seeks to prevent enforcement of the law, but to remove plaintiffs from the sex offender registry. It also seeks to expunge the crime from their records. The lawsuit states:

"Registration as a sex offender burdens almost every aspect of daily life. Plaintiffs – all of whom are required to register only for convictions under Mississippi’s Unnatural Intercourse Statute or an out-of-state conviction Mississippi deems analogous – suffer significant restrictions on their public and personal lives through Mississippi’s plainly unconstitutional conduct. Plaintiffs move for summary judgment and injunctive relief to stop Mississippi from enforcing its unconstitutional sodomy prohibition and to remove the Unnatural Intercourse statute or any purportedly analogous out-of-state law as offenses subject to the MSOR."

Mississippi has become notorious for discriminating against LGBTQ citizens. Governor Phil Bryant has recently asked the federal appeals court to uphold a law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to people based on their sexuality.

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