LGBTI global news 24-7

Alabama’s anti-sodomy law overturned by state appeals court

The US state of Alabama has hung onto its ban on same-sex couples having sex despite it being ruled unconstitutional in the US Supreme Court in 2003 but a state appeals court has now struck it down
Alabama's Judicial Building which holds the appeals court
Photo by Christ Pruitt

Alabama’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex has been struck down as unconstitutional by a state Court of Criminal Appeals.

Alabama state laws defines ‘deviate sexual intercourse’ as ‘any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another,’ and can attract punishments of up to a year in prison or hard labor and fines of up to $2,000.

Alabama man Dewayne Williams sought the appeal after he was sentenced to 12 months in prison after admitting to having consensual sex with another man.

Alabama’s ban on sodomy does not provide an exemption for consensual acts and prosecutors sought to try him despite a 2003 Supreme Court of the United States verdict which invalidated anti-sodomy laws throughout the United States.

Alabama’s Legislature has refused to repeal its sodomy law since then despite it being ultimately unenforceable if appealed to higher courts but this is the first time an Alabama state court has ruled the law unconstitutional.

The judge ruled that section 13A-6-65, which reads ‘consent is no defense to a prosecution,’ was unconstitutional, citing the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas ruling by the US Supreme Court.

As a result it overturned Williams’ conviction.

Comment on a news story