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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Shady Age of Consent Laws

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Author Topic: Shady Age of Consent Laws
britt0285
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I was recently look at a age of consent chart, and I am amazed at the information I found. I was suprised to find that in some countries and even some states in the US had homosexuality as being illegal? Does anyone else thing that is crazy? I'm wondering if this is still the case or if I was simply looking at a chart with bad info. I must say that I am a little upset with what I found. I do not understand why the government would be able to tell you that its illegal for you to be gay. Any thoughts or information you could give?
Posts: 87 | From: TX | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daydreamer24
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Wait, you said some states have homosexuality laws as being illegal?? Do you mean homosexual sex, or being homosexual?? Are you sure what you typed is right?!
Posts: 1619 | From: TEXAS | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Until pretty recently, it was illegal to be sexually active with same-sex partners in MOST of the United States.

Until the last half-century, an alarming number of people would not have found that at all questionable or objectionable.

At the current time, we certainly still have many awful things to deal with as homosexuals or bisexuals, and yes, some of those sodomy laws are still on the books, but it is a GREAT deal different than it was in this culture a mere forty years ago. Acceptance for homosexuality and bisexuality is a very recent thing. The first of the sodomy laws removed wasn't until 1961.

So, if it's a shock, it might be of interest to do a little historical and cultural research at your local library.

Those laws are called sodomy laws, and you can find a weath of information on them (some also apply to heterosexuals) here: http://www.sodomylaws.org/

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
britt0285
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Thanks. I was totally shocked when I read that. I guess because my family is so open it seems strange to me that some people would think that discriminatory laws based on your sexuality would be okay.
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Heather
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I'd say, Britt, that it's nigh about time people reacted the way you have.

Thank goodness people who discover these things finally ARE shocked and appalled.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by britt0285:
I guess because my family is so open it seems strange to me that some people would think that discriminatory laws based on your sexuality would be okay.

Good call. Just for info, Texas was the most recent state to try somebody under an ancient sodomy law, and the defendant was acquitted at trial.

These laws exist in some way, shape, or form, in almost every state of the Union. Little by little, states are beginning to quietly remove them, but even the ones that remain on the books are so rarely enforced that they are basically ineffectual.

When dealing with the law, it's important to remember that not all laws are modern. For example, I used to work in a city where it was illegal to park your horse in front of a saloon for more than 2 hours at a time. Mind you, I'd never even seen a horse anywhere near a saloon in my lifetime, but evidently things were different 125 years ago. The same is true for sodomy, which until relatively recently was widely condemned and punished. With that as a backdrop, one has to wonder what sorts of laws will fall by the wayside 50 or so years from now...

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PSOM

"Battery Stolen; Youth Charged"


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cupcake
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Geez, what was I reading... dag-nabit, I can't remember.

It was talking about this guy in Georgia being charged under the sodomy law.

Oh yeah! It was my Ethics textbook! (funny that)

An officer, looking to stir up trouble, charged him for having an open beer bottle in a bar. (cupcake's reaction: what?!?!) Now the guy paid the fine at the station, but the officer didn't know that.
The officer went to the guy's house, under the pretense of collecting the fine, and caught him engaging in consensual, homosexual sex.

He charged him with sodomy. (and not the other guy)

Georgia law at the time stated that "a person commits the offense of sodomy when he performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organ of one person and the mouth or anus of another" (uh, that's not just homosexual sex there, boys. that could apply to heterosexual sex too)

Punishment for this crime: "imprisonment of not less than one nor more than 20 years"

The guy brought his case up in front of the US Supreme Court, saying it violated the 14th Amendment (whatever that is)

The Supreme Court agreed....but the statute didn't have to be overturned. Georgia just had to prove state intrest.

But it was appealed. 5-4 in the Supreme Court.

"The Constitution does not confer a fundamental right to engage in sodomy." The judge noted that prior cases (like Roe), recognized the right to privacy in cases of abortion, contraception, procreation, and marriage, but he denied that this right of privacy extended to consensual acts of sodomy, even if such acts occur in the privacy of the home.
He also maintained that the majority sentiments about the immorality of sodomy are an adequate basis for the law.


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britt0285
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I do not understand why the Government has any right to tell me or anyone else what they can and can not do with their body. I understand the Age of Consent laws should be intact because minors do need some form of protection. However, it should be the same for everyone no matter sexual orientation. It really angers me that the government would feel that they have the right to say what I can and can not do. And isn't Oral Sex considered sodomy? And if I am not mistaken didn't that happen with President Clinton and one of his interns?
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logic_grrl
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Indeed, some of the existing "sodomy" laws in the US apply to oral and anal sex regardless of the sex of the people involved.

But generally speaking, they're almost never applied to heterosexual couples - just used to prosecute gay and lesbian couples.


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Dzuunmod
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Yeah, there's really no defence for these laws.

As my former Prime Minister Trudeau said, "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." He was right.

Some people might defend such laws by saying that they're generally only used to further punish rapists and other 'real' criminals, but if that's so, then why don't we just make having tatoos a crime, and only charge people with that when they've done something else bad?

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"Just remember you'll only be the boss so long as you pay my wage!"
-Elvis Costello, Cheap Reward


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Gumdrop Girl
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While I was at home, I watched Bill O'Reilly shred a Louisiana attorney who tried to defend the existence of sodomy laws. The usual grounds seem to be "sodomy laws protect the children" but then again, there are already laws against child pornography, age of consent laws, and the like. What's left is nothing more than government butting into something in which it should not have any concern. Like Dzuun's quote from PM Trudeau. Trudeau's right! Gray Davis, Dubya, or our thieving mayor Tom Bates has no business knowing what's going on in my bedroom as long as I'm not unlawfully involving children, animals or household appliances. Heck, if i'm not mistaken, there's no rules against the appliances, right?

How's about a grassroots campaign to repeal sodomy laws?

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Don't be coward like shrimp, be brave like PRAWN!


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twiceagainyesterday
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A while ago, my local newspaper ran an article about the mess that we call Canada's Crminal Code.

If my memory of this article serves me, there is still a law that bans ALL sodomy, yet homosexuality was made legal by Trudeau (also: thank you, Dzuunmod, for the Trudeau quote, as I have never heard it before) in the 1960s, and the age of consent in Canada for sodomy is 18 (two years higher than the age of consent for vaginal intercourse and forms of sex that aren't actually intercourse or sodomy).


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Superbongo
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Laws are funny things. Once they are passed, they are on the books until someone actively works to remove them. For example, several years ago, a coalition of folks worked for about 10 years to convince the NC legislature that someone really could "rape" their wife -- and that that ought to be a crime. Until about 10 years ago, in NC the rape laws included the "marital exception." Basically it read "this is what rape is, except when you do it to your wife" (I'm paraphrasing) --

If it took a coalition of folks 10 years to make the NC legislature take the "marital exception" out of the Rape Laws, imagine how difficult it would be for a group of people to get a legislature to address old laws about sexual activity between people of the same gender?

I read recently that somewhere in the US a guy knew his next door neighbor was entertaining a romantic partner of the same sex, so he called the police and reported that the neighbor had weapons of mass distruction or something like that. The police rushed right over, broke down the door only to discover the, um, activity in progress. The police arrested the two men, charged them with sodomy (another state with the laws still on the books) and also charged the neighbor with filing a false report. The neighbor plead guilty to the false report -- but the sodomy charges haven't yet been dropped.

A case like this should embarrass the local officials and legislature in that state -- especially when there is a big fat law suit. Perhaps then, the legislatures will decide they are men enough to deal with some of the "sex police" laws.


Posts: 3 | From: The Swamps | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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