Republicans in the Michigan Senate have passed a bill making oral or anal sex between consenting adults a felony punishable by 15 years in prison.
Currently Michigan still has a law on the books prohibiting sodomy, despite the fact the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the landmark 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas that laws against sodomy are unconstitutional.
The New Civil Rights Movement reports the new legislation reaffirms the current and unenforceable ban on oral and anal sex, while effectively equating sodomy and bestiality. The law would make it a felony for anyone to commit “the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal.” If the person is already a sex offender, violations are punishable by life in prison.
Raw Story reports the legislation was originally well-meaning, and began as an attempt to create a registry of animal abusers. of an amendment to a bill that addresses bestiality.
The Advocate reports bill SB 219 is known as Logan’s Law, named for a Siberian Husky who suffered acid burns at the hands of an animal abuser. The law makes it illegal for someone convicted of animal abuse to own another animal for five years.
However, in addition to barring convicted animal abusers from owning pets for five years, SB 219 would update language in the state’s ban on bestiality and sodomy as follows:
Sec. 158. (1) Any A person who shall commit COMMITS the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal shall be IS guilty of a felony , punishable by imprisonment in the state prison FOR not more than 15 years, or if such person THE DEFENDANT was A SEXUALLY DELINQUENT PERSON at the time of the said offense, a sexually delinquent person, may be A FELONY punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life.
The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing. It’ll be done. Nobody wants to touch it. I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen. You’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.
In other words, if Jones removes the language prohibiting sodomy, he would alienate his Republican colleagues. Instead, Jones calculates that the sodomy portion of the bill is already unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas and so is not a concern.
However, as The Advocate points out, sodomy laws have been used to arrest people in recent history. Last year, two men were arrested in Louisiana under the unconstitutional anti-sodomy regulations still on the books in their state. Globally, such laws are often used to criminalize homosexuality.
Bipartisan Report indicates SB 219 is currently headed to the Michigan House for consideration.
Bottom line: Protecting animals from abuse is a great cause, but conflating bestiality with sodomy is wrong. Sexual activity between consenting adults should never be the subject of legislation.