Why Do So Many States Still Have Sodomy Laws?

This month Louisiana police illegally arrested more than a dozen men for “crimes against nature” (agreeing to have sex within private residences, with no money exchanged). It raises the question: How can 13 states still have such laws on the books? Because state-level Republicans love ’em:

Lawmakers in Texas have quietly killed every legislative effort to erase its anti-sodomy statute (the one that was actually stricken down by the Supreme Court), which makes sense when you consider Gov. Rick Perry is on the record defending it, and the state GOP recently made a sodomy ban part of its official platform. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback left his state’s sodomy statute out of a 2012 push to purge outdated laws. The last serious repeal push in Louisiana came in 2003, shortly before the Supreme Court decision, with opponents warning that legalized sodomy would lead to disease and child abuse—two things that, thanks to the sodomy ban, Louisiana had been mercifully free of for the last 207 years.

Keeping anti-sodomy statutes on the books serves no real function, since the crimes are impossible to prosecute. Mostly, the laws’ supporters just don’t want their states to legally acknowledge that there’s something okay about homosexuality. So-called crimes against nature, like other 19th-century relics such as mutton chops, DIY canning, and income inequality, are kind of “in” right now. In July, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor as a Republican, launched a new website to defend his state’s anti-sodomy law.

The Dish recently covered Cuccinelli’s bigotry here.