The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s appeal to revive an anti-sodomy law banning oral and anal sex in the state.
In March 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found the Virginia anti-sodomy statute unconstitutional, based on a 2003 Supreme Court ruling, which made criminalizing sexual activity between consenting adults unconstitutional.
Cuccinelli, who is the Republican nominee for governor on the Nov. 5 ballot, and local prosecutors say the “crimes against nature” law isn’t about sexual orientation. They say it is vital to stopping the sexual abuse of children.
The law “is not — and cannot be — used against consenting adults acting in private,” Cuccinelli has argued.
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“As we’ve said from the beginning, this case was never about sexual orientation or private acts between consenting adults,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein told The Washington Post on Monday. “Virginia’s law couldn’t be used against consenting adults acting in private. It only applied to offenses committed against minors, against non-consenting or incapacitated adults, or in public.”
However, the law the doesn’t mention that the offense must be non-consensual or that it must take place between an adult and a child. The first section of the law states that performing or “voluntarily” submitting to oral and anal sex by “any male or female person” is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has referred to Cuccinelli’s defense of the sodomy law as evidence of his “extreme agenda and uncompromising approach.”
In a 2009 speech, Cuccinelli said, “Homosexual acts are wrong and should not be accommodated in government policy.”
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In response to McAuliffe’s attacks, Cuccinelli’s campaign accused him of “playing politics instead of protecting our children.”