HB0081/SB0735: Criminal Law – Sodomy and Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice – Repeal

Bill Title: Criminal Law – Sodomy and Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice – Repeal

Bill Number(s): HB0081, SB0735

Bill Sponsor(s): Delegate David Moon (D-20, Montgomery County), Senator Clarence K. Lam (D-12, Baltimore and Howard Counties)

Position: Support

Legislative History: 

  • HB0081 passed third reading in the House of Delegates with 133-5 votes and was referred to the Judicial Proceedings Committee in the Senate. Amendments expanded the bill, repealing the criminalization of sodomy while maintaining that non-consensual anal penetration remains illegal.
  • SB0735 passed third reading with 45-0 votes and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill was similarly amended.

What will this bill do? 

This bill repeals the unconstitutional “Sodomy and Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice” law that continues to exist on Maryland’s Criminal Codes. This law currently states: “A person who is convicted of sodomy is guilty of a felony and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.”

Why is this important? 

Anti-sodomy laws have a dark history of persecuting and marginalizing LGBTQ people, including imprisoning LGBTQ people for engaging in consensual sex and reinforcing the dark, dehumanizing myth of sexual perversion about consensual same-sex intercourse. State and federal court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, have determined that anti-sodomy laws are discriminatory and unconstitutional. As a result, the code is currently not enforced. The time has clearly come to remedy the historical injustice of anti-sodomy laws and to remove this badge of criminality and dehumanization from LGBTQ Marylanders by repealing Maryland’s sodomy law.