This morning, the Supreme Court has sent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli packing. The justices have refused to hear his appeal of a Fourth Circuit Court ruling which held Virginia’s arcane sodomy law is unconstitutional. While most court watchers are not surprised by the decision, it must come as a bitter disappointment to Cuccinelli who has been scheming for more than a decade to get the issue of sodomy back in front of the Supreme Court.
Cuccinelli wanted this! He is running for governor at the moment, and political wisdom dictates that an attorney general should step down from his office so he can campaign full-time without the baggage of the state’s controversial litigation, but Cuccinelli stayed on. He was so close to reopening Lawrence V Texas, the case that said laws prohibiting sodomy were unconstitutional, that he could taste it. Campaign or not, he didn’t trust anyone else to take over as the battlefield commander in the Holy War for Missionary Position Only in America!
That the Supreme Court was not interested in hearing the Virginia case of MacDonald V Moose, is not a surprise to anyone, save perhaps Cuccinelli. The “Crimes Against Nature” statute under which the conviction was rendered makes all kinds of common sexual acts illegal, including oral sex between heterosexual couples. See for yourself:
18.2-361. Crimes against nature; penalty.
- If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or 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 guilty of a Class 6 felony.
When the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Lawrence V Texas in 2003, the Virginia legislature recognized their Crimes Against Nature statute was unconstitutional, and tried to bring it into compliance by adding a consenting adults exception. Newly elected State Senator Ken Cuccinelli led the resistance and killed the changes in committee, so all these years, if you have had so much as a blow job in Virginia, you have been guilty of a felony. No one was prosecuted under the statute of course. Prosecutors knew a conviction would never hold up on appeal. But the Crimes Against Nature statute remained active, like an undetonated mine, forgotten by everyone – but Cuccinelli.
When Cuccinelli was elected attorney general, he purposefully used the unconstitutional Crimes Against Nature Law he protected as a young state senator, to charge a man named William MacDonald who solicited oral sex from a 17-year-old female. He had many other choices, but he chose Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature Statute so he could finally put the Lawrence decision in the spotlight.
The criminal court convicted MacDonald, but the verdict was overturned by the Fourth Circuit, which Cuccinelli appealed to the Supreme Court. Today, the justices put an end to Cucinnelli’s dream. They will not hear his case.
Sorry Mr. Cuccinelli. Sodomy is alive and well in Virginia. It’s time to take the statute off the books.
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