Sodomy Bans

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What's at Stake

Although the U.S. Supreme Court held in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects the right of consenting adults to engage in private sexual activity, laws criminalizing “sodomy” and “crimes against nature” remain on the books in many states. Because they haven't been repealed, these laws are sometimes enforced by police or used to punish prostitution or consensual sex between teenagers more harshly when the sexual activity involves two persons of the same sex. Law enforcement officials continue to use unconstitutional “sting” operations and overbroad targeting of LGBT populations.

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For non-LGBT issues, please contact your local ACLU affiliate.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court held in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects the right of consenting adults to engage in private sexual activity, laws criminalizing “sodomy” and “crimes against nature” remain on the books in many states. Because they haven't been repealed, these laws are sometimes enforced by police or used to punish prostitution or consensual sex between teenagers more harshly when the sexual activity involves two persons of the same sex. Law enforcement officials continue to use unconstitutional “sting” operations and overbroad targeting of LGBT populations.

Need help? 
Fill out our confidential online form

For non-LGBT issues, please contact your local ACLU affiliate.

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