Legal Experts: Sodomy Is a Civil Right

Virginia's Bob Marshall's view is disputed

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted May 18, 2012 1:01 AM CDT | Updated May 18, 2012 1:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Actually, Virginia GOP legislator Bob Marshall, sodomy is a civil right. That's the word from a number of legal experts responding to Marshall's headline-grabbing snort that "sodomy is not a civil right"—made in an effort to block the appointment of a gay prosecutor to a judgeship. William Eskridge, Yale Law School professor and an author of a book on sodomy laws, points out that the US Supreme Court struck down a criminal sodomy law in Texas in its landmark 2003 case (yes, that's the same case that caused Rick Perry so much bother), reports MSNBC. “The Supreme Court ruled that anal or oral sex, commonly known as sodomy, when performed in private by consenting adults, is constitutionally protected —which makes it a civil right,” Eskridge said.

Though the case involved two gay men, the rights extend to consenting heterosexuals, who account for most cases of sodomy, Eskridge points out. "The representative has the same civil right as the gay prosecutor," Eskridge adds, referring to Marshall. University of Virginia School of Law professor Kim Forde-Mazrui agrees: “That is something you have a constitutional right to do. Adults have that right without being subject to criminal punishment." In any case, the gay prosecutor was not appointed a district judge.

Virginian Bob Marshall doesn't know what he's talking about, say legal experts.
Virginian Bob Marshall doesn't know what he's talking about, say legal experts.   (ThinkProgress6)
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