Legalizing Homosexual Conduct

in Same Sex, Different Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226544083
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226544106 | DOI:
Legalizing Homosexual Conduct

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This chapter recounts the long and varied history of sodomy laws. The state used these laws to target same-sex consensual activity only relatively recently as part of an unprecedented repression of sexual and gender deviance that reached its apex in the middle of the twentieth century. History is of more than academic interest because the courts have looked to the historical record to support and reject claims about the constitutionality of sodomy laws. The chapter then looks at the disappearance of sodomy laws in the United States over four decades, starting in 1960. Repeal took place during two distinct periods. Mostly legislatures repealed the first group of laws in the 1960s and 1970s, and mostly courts repealed the second group after 1980. Although different institutional conditions operated in these periods, the findings are mostly consistent with the hypotheses presented in Chapter 1.

Keywords: sodomy laws; same-sex consensual activities; sexual conduct; repeal

Chapter.  10924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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