Policy/Biz

Alabama Ban On Anal, Oral Sex Declared Unconstitutional — 11 Years Late

Alabama Sodomy Ban Overturned
Eleven years after the Supreme Court ruled that bans on consensual sex were unconstitutional, Alabama's ban on anal and oral sex has finally been struck down. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

You can take this one off the list of “states with weird laws.” A state appeals court ruled on Friday that Alabaman’s can go back to doing what they were doing under the sheets, without any possibility of getting arrested. If they want to commit acts of oral or anal sex, they can commit such crimes.

The unanimous ruling by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals strikes down an “unconstitutional” ban on anal and oral sex, permitting both as long as they’re consensual. The ruling settled the case of Dewayne Williams v. State of Alabama. Williams, from Dallas County, Ala. was convicted of first-degree sodomy and sexual misconduct in 2010. Although he admitted to the act, he said that it was consensual, USA Today reported. Nevertheless, the prosecutor said that the ruling will only hurt the victim, a man whom he argued was forced into having sex.

The ruling begs a larger question, however. Why are there still places in this country where certain sex acts are banned? The overturning of this law was celebrated as a victory for gay rights, as it was clearly directed toward fighting homosexuality.

Now that Alabama is off the list of states with sodomy laws, there are 11 more to go, including Florida, Idaho, Kansas, and Michigan. What’s puzzling about all this is that all of them should have been overturned by now. It’s been nearly 11 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Lawrence v. Texas that banning consensual sex between adults was unconstitutional, and violating the 14th amendment, according to the Associated Press.

Since the ruling, only Montana and Virginia took initiative to repeal their laws. But it took years for this to happen. Montana didn’t repeal its law until April last year, while it took Virginia up until this past March to get up to speed. It’s looking like it may take time, but eventually — and probably as cases pop up — courts will rule these unconstitutional.

“Each and every person, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, is entitled to equal protection under the law,” said Ben Cooper, chairman of equal rights group, Equality Alabama, in a statement, according to USA Today. “The Alabama court’s unanimous decision overturning the statute is a step in the right direction and makes us optimistic for future and ongoing equal rights through the continued elimination of unconstitutional provisions in our state’s constitution that violate privacy and equal rights.” 

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