August 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Supreme Court rejects Va. request for stay on sodomy law
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has argued the Supreme Court Lawrence decision does not apply to sexual relations between an adult and a minor. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday denied a request by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that a lower court ruling overturning the state’s sodomy law be put on hold while the Supreme Court decides whether to hear Cuccinelli’s appeal.

Roberts, acting on behalf of the full court, did not issue an explanation for his denial of the request for a stay of a decision in March by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond that declared Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature, or sodomy law, unconstitutional.

Cuccinelli asked the high court to put a stay on the Fourth Circuit ruling shortly after he filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear his appeal of the ruling. The high court was expected to decide later this year or early next year whether to hear the case. If it decides against hearing the case, the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court ruling remains in place.

That ruling overturned a felony conviction by a judge in the city of Colonial Heights, Va., of a 47-year-old man for soliciting oral sex from a 17-year-old woman. Although no sex took place, the defendant, William Scott MacDonald, had been charged with soliciting someone to commit a sexual act that his attorneys argued was no longer illegal.

A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court agreed with his attorneys, ruling 3-1 that the 2003 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas invalidated the Virginia Crimes Against Nature law as “facially” unconstitutional, preventing it from being enforced, even in cases of consensual sodomy between an adult and a minor between the ages of 15 and 18. The judges noted that the age of sexual consent in Virginia is 15.

Cuccinelli has argued the Supreme Court Lawrence decision does not apply to sexual relations between an adult and a minor. He has stated in political ads in his campaign for governor that the sodomy law is needed to protect children from sexual predators. But attorneys and prosecutors familiar with Virginia’s criminal laws dispute that claim, saying existing state law allows for the prosecution of adults who engage in sex with minors.

The Fourth Circuit ruling said that while the Lawrence decision prohibited Virginia from applying the sodomy law in cases of consensual sex with someone between 15 and 18, it did not prevent the state legislature from enacting laws banning all sex between adults and people in that age range.


Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Rob

    As if anyone needs to “pray” its common sense, and I being a Virginia State resident find Cuccinelli appalling. Should this inbred moron become Governor, I intend to leave the commonwealth behind flipping the bird as I go.

  • WlfSng

    Why is he so obsessed with homosexuality?

  • Could it be “self loathing” over being a closet gay?

  • billy wingartenson

    hatred mixed with southern baptist popualtion – the peoplw who drive around with signs on their cars – the south shall rise again

    Time we realize we are fighting the wrong war on terrorism – the religious nutjobs are here.

    Try btw Pat Roberson who said the Haitians deserve the terrible earthquake ( an appeal to the fools who support him to send more money like the old catholic BS of the past – pay to avoid going to purgatory – (buy indulgences)

    Then there was Huckabee (Fuckabee) who at a conference called renewing god in america said –
    “we’ve got to get them to pray – at the point of a gun if necessary

    which sounds like a take off from the chinese hitler – Mao Tse Tsung who said in the 1960s – political power comes out of the barrel of a gun

    BTW there were 14 of these conferences in the south – all sponsored by the hate group FRC

  • Butch

    This man (and I use that term loosely), Cuccinelli is piece of crap floating in the toilet. We should stop giving him publicity! If we stop he will be forced to go away!

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