What is sodomy? (in legal terms)

I know what the dictionary says it is…and I have seen Oz.

But legally, are sodomy laws essentially laws against male homosexuality?

Have straight people ever been arrested for sodomy as a result of consentual adult anal or oral sex? And are gay men still arrested for sodomy in any part of the United States - or the Western world for that matter? Or are these laws essentially going the way of “no horseback riding on Sundays” type laws.

And to add to the Victorian nature of these laws, can Lesbians be prosecuted for sodomy anywhere? And could someone commit sodomy without another person?

Anything but penis-in-vagina sex is sodomy. This includes oral sex, anal sex, and playing with toys. I do believe sodomy requires two people. The laws naturally have a greater impact upon homosexual men and women, but heteros have been arrested for sodomy also.

It’s very rare that people are arrested for sodomy these days, however, if there are reports that you leave your curtains open, or in any other way allow your sexual activities to be visible to neighbors or passersby, you might find yourself charged with sodomy for lack of a better way to stop or control your behavior.

At least in Virginia, the legal definition of sodomy includes sex with animals. cite

Sodomy is legally what the law states it is, with specific definitions varying from state to state. In general, it’s contact between any combination of penis, vulva, anus, and mouth except the first pairing of them – insertion of any one named body part into, or manipulation of any one named body part by, any other named body part.

IIRC, as of 12/31/2002 there were fifteen states that outlawed sodomy generally, and four that outlawed it between two persons of the same sex only. One of those, Texas, has a legal challenge on the grounds of failure to provide Fourteenth Amendment equal protection (again IIRC – perhaps a GD jurisconsult will go into more detail) wending its way to the SCOTUS.

Sodomy in Texas is defined in a 1982 case, Knight v. State, as using either the mouth or the anus.
I can’t seem to find an actual definition of sodomy within the statutes, but I did find a similar one:

(1) “Deviate sexual intercourse” means:
(A) 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.

TX PENAL § 21.01

Moderator’s Note: Although it’s about a potentially controversial subject, this basically seems to be a question of fact, so I’ll move it from Great Debates to General Questions.

As already noted, sodomy laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Georgia’s sodomy law, Official Code of Georgia 16-6-2, criminalizes

that is, oral or anal sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and applying to lesbians as well as gay men.

Other sodomy laws are more vague as to what exactly is prohibited. For example, Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 U.S.C. 925) prohibits

(Georgia law separately criminalizes bestiality or sex with an animal). The State of Idaho criminalizes

with no further definition in the statute (Idaho Code 18-6605). Laws such as the UCMJ or the Idaho statute have generally been held to apply to homosexual or heterosexual oral or anal sex (or to sex acts with a non-human animal if the statute includes that as well). A minority of states with anti-sodomy laws specify only homosexual acts, for example, Texas Penal Code 21.06 (“Homosexual Conduct”) prohibits

(where “deviate sexual intercourse” is defined as “any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or, the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object”)

Prosecutions of either gays or straights are rare, but occasionally still happen. The Georgia sodomy law (and other sodomy laws in the United States) was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick, which involved two gay men having oral sex. The Georgia law against sodomy (as regards to private, non-commercial, consensual acts between adults) was later struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in Powell v. State, which involved a man having consensual oral sex with his 17-year-old niece. I don’t think there is any great enthusiasm for prosecuting people for consensual sodomy, whether gay or straight–note that the facts of Georgia’s Powell case, a man and his 17-year-old niece, are fairly “icky”, and don’t necessarily mean Georgia prosecutors were hellbent on stamping out oral sex. (Note: The portion of Georgia’s sodomy law prohibiting “aggravated sodomy”–“sodomy with force and against the will of the other person or when he or she commits sodomy with a person who is less than ten years of age”–is still a major and enforceable crime in Georgia; one of seven serious violent crimes for which a second conviction merits an automatic life sentence.) The existence of sodomy laws does often have political consequence for gays and lesbians, as an argument against gay rights laws on the grounds that anti-discrimination laws which protect homosexuals are tantamount to anti-discrimination protection for criminal behavior. (Of course, advocates of anti-discrimination laws protecting homosexuals argue that sodomy laws are unconstitutional or inherently wrong, and sodomy laws in the U.S. have been dwindling from repeal by state legislatures and overturn by state courts.) For example, in the Robin Shahar case in Georgia, the state’s sodomy law was used as justification for firing a lesbian lawyer from the state attorney general’s office.

I’m so sick and tired of Sodom getting all the credit. Whatever happened to Gomorrah? Why can’t I be arrested for the crime of Gomorry?

Sorry, SPOOFE, but even you don’t want to know what Gomorrahy is. I mean, I’m a broad-minded, liberal, tolerant guy, but there are limits.

::: visualizes SPOOFE costumed as Annie singing “Gomorry! Gomorry!” ::: :slight_smile:

SPOOFE have you been visiting www.mikesilverman.com?

“Gommorria” is what you get after practicing sodomy with the wrong person.

For what it’s worth, South Carolina’s applicable staute doesn’t even use the term sodomy:

“Abominable crime of buggery” just has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? :smiley:

**SIG LINE !!! **

-cough- I mean, not for me perhaps, but maybe it might uh…well…


–change of tone of post–

The Superintendant of Schools of Middletown, New York was arrested last week, and charged with Sodomy because of a sexual encounter with a 14 year old boy. The Superintendant is male.

So, in New York State at least, it pertains to just that. Oral sex between same sex ( amongst any other definitions that may fit in this state ).