Despite all of the progress made so far on LGBT rights, on Tuesday, Louisiana voted to uphold the state’s anti-sodomy law, 67-27, despite it being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in their landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
In its decision, the court ruled that laws prohibiting sodomy seek “to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.”
Unless you live in Louisiana?
In fact, in addition to Louisiana and Texas, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma have all maintained their own anti-sodomy laws, despite their direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision. In three of these states — Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — such anti-sodomy laws pertain exclusively to “homosexual conduct.”
The Louisiana bill in question, HB12, proposed to amend “crime against nature…” and was introduced in January by State House Representative Patricia Smith (D-Baton Rouge). Although it seems painfully obvious that there is no reason on Earth to maintain such a law, Smith’s proposed bill was a direct response to the targeted arrests of gay men in her district who were profiled and lured by undercover police to agree to consensual sex. At least 12 men have been arrested in this “sodomy sting” since 2011, despite the fact that prosecutors refused to bring charges in every single case.
Of course, Virginia’s sodomy law has been invalid since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas ruling struck down state laws prohibiting consensual, non-commercial, private sexual acts between adults. Virginia’s sodomy ban — the “Crimes Against Nature” statue, which was so strict that it even criminalized oral sex between married couples — clearly fell under the scope of the ruling. But as Think Progress’s Josh Israel points out, Republicans who controlled the state legislature resisted all efforts to formally repeal the now-unenforceable law.
New attorney general, new game in town.
The Washington Post reports that Virginia’s new attorney general, Mark Herring, plans to announce Thursday that he believes the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state will join two couples in asking a federal court to strike down the law.
Herring will say that Virginia has been on the “wrong side” of landmark legal battles involving school desegregation, interracial marriage and single-sex education at the Virginia Military Institute, one official said. He will make the case that the commonwealth should be on the “right side of the law and history” in the battle over same-sex marriage.
GOP heads in Virginia are probably spinning faster than a top now.
Virginia GOP kicks off “Constitution Day” festivities with a “Jew Joke” about how Teh Juice loves Teh Moneys a whole bunch. Classy.
A man from Bassett admitted to faking hundreds of signatures on campaign ballots.
In December of 2011 Newt Gingrich needed 10,000 signatures to get his name on the Virginia presidential primary petition. Adam Ward, 28, collected more than 11,000 signatures according to prosecutors. More than 4,000 signatures could not be verified by investigators.
Tuesday night, Ward pleaded guilty to 36 counts of voter fraud and perjury in Augusta Circuit Court.
Sentencing is scheduled for December.
“I think that he’s a pretty dynamic guy. But ultimately this is about Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe,” Preibus said of Jackson. “I think we know that, you know it’s never, just like in the Presidential election. It’s usually never about the VP, it’s always about the presidential candidate, it’s all about the governor. … That’s what’s going to matter, in the end, but, obviously, I think it’s good to have an articulate lieutenant governor that can work hard underneath, and move votes, and help out the top of the ticket.”
E.W. Jackson, the GOP lieutenant governor candidate in Virginia who’s made headlines since his selection earlier this month, said in a radio interview Friday that he and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli see eye-to-eye on the issues.
“Look, we are in fundamental agreement,” Jackson said, when asked on the radio station WMAL whether he and Cuccinelli would “run as a pair.” “I’ve heard that this ticket is probably more homogeneous than almost any ticket in the history of Virginia, so there’s no stark disagreement between us.”
n 2005, for example, Cuccinelli, then a state senator, sent a volunteer to investigate a mostly-female planning meeting for an event to be held at George Mason University by “Pro-Choice Patriots,” a student group, and dubbed the “Sextravaganza.” This gathering was designed to promote healthy sexual activity—dispensing information on date rape, AIDS, and contraception. But Cuccinelli condemned the plan to hold such an event at a public school, warning that “Sextravaganza” would promote “every type of sexual promiscuity you can imagine.”
“This whole thing is really just designed to push sex and sexual libertine behavior as far, fast and furiously as possible,” he told the Washington Post at the time, adding, “Do we need to establish some statewide standards here? It’s pathetic we even need to have this discussion, but apparently we do.”
Cuccinelli, like Jackson, was a fierce fighter for what they called traditional family values. In 2004, the Washington Times reported that Cuccinelli was leading the fight against, in his words, “homosexuals and AIDS [education].” He was doing so by pushing a resolution asking Congress to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman:
“[The resolution would] enshrine in the Constitution effectively what is Virginia law today, and that is that marriage is between one man and one woman and that there are no analogous relationships under law,” said Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Fairfax County Republican and the bill’s sponsor.
Mr. Cuccinelli and others worry recent protests on the topic are part of an overall strategy by homosexuals, who he thinks plan to “dismantle sodomy laws” and “get education about homosexuals and AIDS in public schools.” On Friday in a 79-18 vote, the House passed a bill that affirms the state’s ban on homosexual “marriage.” It is expected to pass the Senate.
Cuccinelli may find it tough to separate himself from Jackson, given that the two were both fierce leaders in the culture war fights of the 1990s and 2000s.
Last week, the Virginia Republican party nominated Ken Cuccinelli for governor, in an election to be held later this year. Just three years ago, in his current job as Attorney General of Virginia, Cuccinelli launched one of the most outrageous attacks on an academic scientist that I’ve seen in many decades. His actions would not be out of place in a totalitarian state such as the Soviet Union, or perhaps in the 1950′s McCarthyism era, when many Americans were blacklisted, denied jobs, and even fired because of their political views. But in a country where the freedom to speak is a fundamental right, Cuccinelli’s actions are frightening.
Cuccinelli used the power of government to intimidate a scientist with whom he disagreed. Not just one scientist, but 40 scientists and their colleagues, all working at the University of Virginia. His message was clear: if you disagree with me, I will come after you. Now Cuccinelli is running for governor, and in a state fairly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, he has a good chance of winning.
E.W. Jackson, the Virginia GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor, began his career as a minister and attorney in Boston. While there, he lent his support to a high-profile 1988 fight against a plan to desegregate public housing developments in the neighborhood of South Boston.