Virginia Republican attorney general pushes to restore sodomy ban
Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R) filed a petition asking the entire 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to revisit its decision to overturn the state law prohibiting sodomy.
The Washington Blade reported on Wednesday that Cuccinelli’s petition, filed on March 26 calls for an en banc hearing involving all 15 judges on the court to reconsider the March 12 ruling by a three-judge panel declaring the “Crimes Against Nature” law unconstitutional.
The law, which prohibited oral and anal sex, was deemed unconstitutional in a 2005 case involving a 47-year-old defendant, William Scott MacDonald, accused of asking a 17-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him. According to Buzzfeed, despite the girl rebuffing his advances, MacDonald told authorities she did so “against his will.” MacDonald was eventually convicted of soliciting a minor in an attempt to break the sodomy law.
The panel ruled in a 2-1 decision that the law was unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which held that sodomy laws violated a person’s right to privacy.
But a spokesperson for Cuccinelli, Caroline Gibson, said his petition hinges on the dissenting judge’s opinion that the Lawrence ruling does not apply when a minor is involved.
“We believe the panel decision was erroneous, and that the dissent correctly concludes that the petitioner was not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief,” Gibson said. “So the full court should have the opportunity to decide this matter.”
While LGBT advocates who filed briefs supporting the decision to overturn the law said it’s likely that Cuccinelli’s request will be turned down, state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), told the Blade he is considering addressing the issue in the legislative arena.
“I’m reviewing this and will consider introducing a bill next year to repeal the Virginia Crimes Against Nature law for consenting adults,” said Ebbin, who self-identifies as a gay male.
Cuccinelli will be the Republican party nominee in the state gubernatorial election on Nov. 5, 2013.
Read Cuccinelli’s petition, posted by Buzzfeed on Wednesday, below.
[h/t Talking Points Memo]