Virginia predicts need for more prison beds if oral sex is banned for teens
A Republican lawmaker in Virginia has proposed re-criminalizing oral and anal sex — but only for teenagers.
State senator Thomas Garrett, who calls himself a “Cuccinelli Conservative,” filed a bill on Wednesday to “amend and reenact § 18.2-361 of the Code of Virginia, relating to crimes against nature.”
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to re-establish the ban on oral and anal sex in his state. The law had previously been declared to be unconstitutional by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In its 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, the Supreme Court had ruled that all sodomy laws were unconstitutional, but Cuccinelli argued that the ruling did not apply to minors.
Garrett hopes to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling by applying his bill only to non-adults.
“Any person who (i) carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or (ii) 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 is guilty of a Class 6 felony,” the bill says. “The provisions of clause (ii) shall not apply where all persons are consenting adults who are not in a public place and who are not committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, aiding, or abetting any act in furtherance of prostitution.”
The bill would outlaw oral and anal sex even for non-adults who can marry as young as the age of 16 in Virginia with their parents’ consent.
The Huffington Post pointed out on Thursday, that the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission has just completed an impact study and determined that extra prison beds would be required to house the sodomy offenders if the law was passed.
The statement estimated that it would cost taxpayers at least $50,000, but said it was impossible to predict how many more prison beds would be required over a six-year period.
By remedying the issues expressed in MacDonald v. Moose (2013), the proposal would allow for felony prosecutions and convictions under § 18.2-361(A) for non-forcible sodomy to resume. Until the effective date of such legislation, however, there will be a period of time during which no one will be convicted under the existing statute. Thus, the proposal is expected to increase the future state-responsible (prison) bed space needs of the Commonwealth above current needs. The rate at which charges would be filed and individuals would be prosecuted under the proposed legislation cannot be estimated; therefore, the magnitude of the impact on prison bed space needs during the six-year forecast horizon cannot be determined.
Garrett is the only patron backing the bill so far, but it was only filed on Wednesday.
Watch this 2011 video of Garrett explaining what it means to be a “Cuccinelli Conservative.”