Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has decided to continue the fight to preserve the state’s “crimes against nature” law that bans both oral and anal sex in both heterosexual and homosexual relations. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (considered by many to be the country’s most conservative circuit) struck down the law on obvious constitutional grounds. However, Cuccinelli has filed a motion for reconsideration to try to get that decision reversed. The current attorney general and likely GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli wants to keep anti-sodomy laws on the books in Virginia.
Notably, Cuccinelli’s position contradicts the position of many in the GOP who support not just the decriminalization of homosexual relations but more recently same-sex marriage. It is a position that conflicts with basic libertarians values that motivate some in the GOP and many independents. The most basic right of Americans is, to quote Louis Brandeis, the right to be left alone. The intrusion of the government into the actual bedrooms of Americans is the ultimate expression of government power and abuse. It is also a classic form of majoritarian tyranny where neighbors insist that you live by their moral code and values. It is not the position of those who want to limit the role of government in the lives of citizens.
The law states:
Va. Code § 18.2-361(A) provides that: “If any person . . . carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, except as provided in subsection B.”
Fortunately, the Fourth Circuit opinion is unassailable and will not be reversed in my view. We have grown as a nation both in terms of our laws and our values. It is not that a majority approve of these relations but they embrace the right of citizens to decide how they relate for their lovers and spouses. It is also a law that would criminalize relations that are widely practiced by citizens — condemning conduct that a majority support by their conduct. The future of such morality legislation is dim in this country not because we are less moral but because we are more tolerant and inclusive.