Where is Sodomy Considered a Crime?

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Sodomy laws may still be included in the criminal code of some United States jurisdictions, but it is not likely to be prosecuted. That is because the United States Supreme Court has determined such laws to violate the constitutional rights  of American citizens. 

Criminalization of Sodomy

Sodomy has appeared on the books of United States criminal law in many states historically. Whether or not it was prosecuted, many states criminalized this sexual conduct whether or not it was practiced behind closed doors. The definition of sodomy is not always made clear even withing statutes which criminalize it. Generally, sodomy is defined as sexual acts that are considered immoral. Some definitions specifically include anal sexual acts, oral sexual acts and bestiality. No matter the definition, a sodomy law is not likely to stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

In 2003, the United States Supreme Court declared a Texas sodomy statute to be unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas. The court reasoned that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause made Texas's sodomy law unconstitutional and provided for protection of individual liberties such as consensual sexual conduct like sodomy. Equal protection rights are also likely to be violated by such statutes.

Many of the states have since repealed their sodomy statutes. Even if a statute still exists on a particular state's books, it is unlikely to be prosecuted, and if it is prosecuted, it will likely not stand up to constitutional scrutiny in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas.

Most progressive countries have come to view homosexuality as a biological reality, and thus have repealed sodomy laws as being outdated. However, there may still be a few foreign countries who have such laws. Because sexual acts are generally conducted behind private doors, you likely have nothing to worry about no matter what your sexual preference or activity as long as the sex you partake in is consensual. You should consult the criminal code of any country you plan to visit if you are concerned about the propriety of your sexual acts.

Getting Legal Help

If you have been charged with a sex crime, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled serious sex offense cases is your best first step. An attorney can help you prepare a defense to the allegations that have been made, collect evidence and conduct an investigation into the charges.

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