These States Still Have Laws Banning Sodomy in 2022
After overturning Roe v. Wade, is Lawrence v. Texas next?
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right, marginalized people across America are worrying what civil rights will be taken away next.
Unfortunately, we have some idea of which rights might be next, as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion to the court's overturning of Roe v. Wade where he called into question all "substantive due process" rulings, including Lawrence v. Texas, inwhich the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to have laws banning sodomy (nonreproductive sexual acts).
Just as there are states with "trigger laws" in place to ban abortion once its federal protections were erased, there are still many states with laws banning sodomy, including oral sex and anal sex, that would be active if the Supreme Court undoes Lawrence v. Texas.
Here's a list of the 14 states that still have anti-sodomy laws on the books,\ and what will happen to those who break these laws if Lawrence v. Texas is overturned.
Georgia's anti-sodomy law defines the act as when a person "performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another."
Kansas is one of three states whose anti-sodomy law targets only same-sex acts. Criminal sodomy in Kansas is defined as bestiality, assaults on underage people, and "sodomy between persons who are 16 or more years of age and members of the same sex."
Kentucky's anti-sodomy law doesn't cover anything that's not already covered by rape laws, except that it specifically uses the language "he engages in deviate sexual intercourse," so that consensual sex between men can be charged under this law as well as rape. "Deviate sexual intercourse" is defined as "any act of sexual gratification involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another; or penetration of the anus of one person by a foreign object manipulated by another person."
Louisiana's law prohibits "the unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same or opposite sex," not counting rape. The law continues, saying "emission is not necessary; and, when committed by a human being with another, the use of the genital organ of one of the offenders of whatever sex is sufficient to constitute the crime."
In Maryland, the law bans "unnatural or perverted sexual practice," which includes taking "the sexual organ of another or of an animal in the person's mouth," placing "the person's sexual organ in the mouth of another or of an animal," and committing any other "unnatural or perverted sexual practice with another or with an animal."
The sodomy law in Massachusetts bans "unnatural and lasscivious acts" and punishes them with a fine or by "imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in jail or the house of correction for not more than two and one half years."
Michigan actually has several laws against sodomy. The state's anti-sodomy law says that "Any person who shall commit the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal shall be guilty of a felony." The state also bans "gross indecency" between both same-sex and different-sex couples.
The definition of sodomy in Minnesota is "carnally knowing any person by the anus or by or with the mouth." The law also specifies that anyone who "voluntarily engages in or submits to an act of sodomy with another" is committing a crime.
Similar to many other states, Mississippi's anti-sodomy law applies to sex with both human beings and animals, lumping the two in together. It's punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In Oklahoma, the law states that "any person who is guilty of the detestable and abominable crime against nature, committed with mankind or with a beast, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a period of not more than twenty (20) years."
South Carolina is the only state with a specific law against "buggery," or anal sex. The law says "whoever shall commit the abominable crime of buggery, whether with mankind or with beast, shall, on conviction, be guilty of felony and shall be imprisoned in the Penitentiary for five years or shall pay a fine of not less than five hundred dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court."
Texas's law is the most transparently homophobic, banning "homosexual conduct." The law says anyone can be charged with this crime if they engage in "deviate seuxal intercourse" (defined as "any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or (B) the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object") with a member of the same sex.