News (USA)

Minnesota & Maryland repeal antiquated sodomy laws

Hands in handcuffs breaking free
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Both Minnesota and Maryland have officially repealed archaic laws banning sodomy in the states.

On May 19, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed S.F. 2909, a comprehensive public safety bill that included the repeal of a sodomy ban that had already been deemed unconstitutional in a 2001 state Supreme Court ruling, as well as a section legally defining gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation as separate from one another.

In addition to other provisions in support of the LGBTQ+ community, the legislation also updated non-discrimination policies to better protect LGBTQ+ people in areas like hate crimes and housing discrimination.

In Maryland on Friday, Democratic Gov. Wes Moore said he would not be signing the bill overturning the Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices Act, but that he would allow it to go into effect without his signature.

“I’m pleased that this bill has now become law, and this is a real and hard-fought win for the LGBTQ community,” State Sen. Clarence Lam (D), who championed the bill in the state Senate, told the Washington Blade.

“This was a long-overdue update to the existing law to remove an outdated provision. While we had wanted to remove this provision from the law years ago when sodomy was struck from the statute, opponents fought to keep this with reassurance that it would unlikely ever be used to criminally charge individuals. And just the very next year, the Harford County sheriff’s office used this part of the statute to arrest individuals at a private business.”

In 2021, the law was used to arrest four gay men and five other people at an adult video store.

Lam lamented that “it is unfortunate that it took so long to correct this in the law, but I’m glad to see that this misguided part of the statute is now finally gone. I appreciate the sustained efforts and patience of all of the advocates who saw this bill through final passage. Even though it took a while, this win is something the LGBTQ community should be proud of and find reassuring.”

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