Michigan lawmakers have passed a bill that would make oral sex between consenting adults a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, even though anti-sodomy laws have already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
As The New Civil Rights Movement reports, the language making oral sex between adults a felony was added at the last minute to an existing package of bills that has absolutely nothing to do with sex. The so-called “Logan’s Law,” named after a badly-abused Siberian Husky, is intended to prevent people with animal abuse convictions from owning pets.
For Republican senator Rick Jones, Logan’s Law seemed like the perfect place for him to insert another bill, S.B. 218, which contains some language banning consensual oral sex between adults.
“A person who commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal is guilty of a felony…”
To be fair, the language seems to be intended to address sexual abuse of animals, but the way the law is written it extends to consensual sex acts between adults as well.
And Rick Jones is just fine with that.
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When The New Civil Rights Movement tried to explain to Jones that simply changing a few words in the bill would keep it from running afoul of the Supreme Court, Jones reasoned that removing the language would put the whole bill in jeopardy.
“The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing. It’ll be done. Nobody wants to touch it. I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen. You’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.”
So he may be interested in striking Michigan’s unconstitutional bills from the books, but he’s not interested in doing it right now, apparently.
“But if you focus on it, people just go ballistic. If we could put a bill in that said anything that’s unconstitutional be removed from the legal books of Michigan, that’s probably something I could vote for, but am I going to mess up this dog bill that everybody wants? No.”
Officially, the Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws (and here “sodomy” refers to any kind of sex between adults outside of penile-vaginal) in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas. Until 2003, anti-sodomy laws were on the books in most of the 50 states, but were rarely enforced. After Lawrence, those laws, though unconstitutional, still remain on the books in some states – largely because lawmakers haven’t gotten around to removing them.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped some lawmakers from trying to revive old anti-sodomy laws or even create new ones. Viriginia’s Ken Cuccinelli, for example, tried in 2013 to re-instate Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature Law,” according to a Think Progress report at the time.
“If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or 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…”
Cuccinelli failed in his bid to get the law re-instated.
Even if anti-sodomy laws could pass Constitutional muster, they would be next to impossible to enforce. As Addicting Info points out, enforcing them would require “millions of dollars, a spying program, and a cop in every household.”
The Michigan bill to ban oral sex between consenting adults has been passed by the Senate, but has yet to be considered in the House, where it faces an uncertain future.
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