In 1976, a married couple in Virginia was convicted of sodomy,
which is defined as oral or anal sex. They were given five-year
prison terms. They appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court upheld the Virginia law, and sodomy has remained a crime
in this state ever since.
The president of the American Psychiatric Association pointed out at
the time that about two-thirds of sexually active American
heterosexuals—80 million women and men—engage in oral or anal sex.
He also reported that 20 million gay men and lesbians do likewise.
If sodomy laws were enforced as they were in Virginia, 100 million
Americans would be convicted.
It is not clear how the U.S. Supreme Court would now decide a case
involving a criminal conviction of a heterosexual couple who had
oral or anal sex. However, in 1986, in Bowers v. Hardwick, the Court
upheld a Georgia law that punishes sodomy with 20 years in prison.
In this case, two men were discovered having oral sex in their home
by a policeman who was trying to serve a summons. The two men were
arrested and charged with sodomy The Supreme Court ruled that the
right to privacy does not extend to sexual acts between two men or
between two women, even in their own homes!
As of 1992, 19 states still had sodomy laws that applied to both
straight and gay women and men, and four had sodomy laws that
specifically targeted gay men and lesbians. Sodomy laws were most
recently revoked in Montana in 1996.
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