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Virginia removes state ban on sodomy

The Virginia House of Delegates [official website] on Thursday unanimously passed a bill [SB 14] to remove the state code's ban on oral and anal sex, a decade after it was invalidated by a US Supreme Court [official website] decision in Lawrence v. Texas [opinion]. The new legislation limits the definition of "crimes against nature" to only bestiality and incest. Sodomy is still to be used to prosecute cases involving rape, prostitution, and sexual acts involving children. The Virginia Senate [official website] voted unanimously to pass this bill last month. It will now go to Governor Terry McAuliffe [official website] for final approval.

Sodomy laws have been a controversial issue around the world in recent years. The Supreme Court of Georgia [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in October that the state's statute prohibiting the solicitation of sodomy is constitutional. In March a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] overturned [JURIST report] Virginia's anti-sodomy law. In 2010 a Malaysian court ruled [JURIST report] that the country's ban on sodomy is constitutional. In 2009 an Indian court declared [JURIST report] the nation's ban on sodomy unconstitutional. In 2006 a court in Hong Kong upheld a ruling [JURIST report] that laws prohibiting gay sex are unconstitutional.

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