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

  • Ken Cuccinelli is a strange and frightening man. I pray the voters of Virginia are bright enough to refuse him the governor's mansion.

  • 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.

  • Why is he so obsessed with homosexuality?

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

  • AShole repubs – next they will want to go back to slavery and segregation. We should split VA into two states.

    The north which will be prosperous.

    Thee south which we will wall off as a prehistoric zoo.

  • 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

  • BTW this reminds me of a scene in one of the carolinas a couple years ago – a black male age 17 got a BJ from an 18 year old white girl.

    he got sentenced to ove r10 years in prison. I think the sentence was commutted.

    this goes back to the days before 1967 when the supreme court trasshed the 16 remaining states laws that bnned inter-racial marriage (at the end of wwII it was 41 states).

    The realy big deal was some of those 16 states allowed black women to marry white men but not the reverse.

  • The age of consent in Virginia is 15? I doubt that very much. I believe it is 18. And many people here in Virginia think it should be 42.

  • 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!

  • This POS need to drop dead! He needs to be put out of OUR MISERY.

  • Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Bob McDonnell are three of the most vile, bigoted scumbags in the Republican Party, and that's saying something. They need to be removed from office by any means necessary.

  • This idiot never was good with understanding what the word no means maybe he needs a dictionary.

  • "Protecting children from sexual predators" just a Trojan Horse to attack adult gay male couples who have sex.

  • In Maryland and other states, the minimum age of consent is 16. In MD,etc. a 16 year-old and his or her parents would have no legal grounds to scream about sex with an 18 year-old if the sex was consentual and not forced or coerced.

  • I will advocate for Northern Virginia to secede from Richmond if Ayatollah Cuccinelli is elected VA's next governor this fall. McAuliffe is not perfect but he is progressive and much more on the lgbt side that Ayatollah Ken ever will be.

  • Whew – glad that Cooch got smacked down. My homestate doesn't need any more embarrassment from this jackass.

    Back to campaigning against him.

  • He only appeals to the far-righters in the mountains & far south of the state.
    I think it'll be close, but he'll lose – *very* few people, even Republican-voting folks I've come across & in polls, support him in Northern VA.

  • I'll be looking to hop across the border into Maryland.

  • It's definitely not 18. I thought it was 16. Either way, the young lady was over the age of consent any way you cut it. Although she is still a minor.

    If the 47 y/o had been brought up on stat rape charges, might have held – but "soliciting oral sex" failed.

  • Welcome to Maryland, far more officially progressive than Virginia plus Maryland has marriage equality and bans discrimination in housing, public accommodations and in hiring and firing on the basis of sexual orientation. All which Virginia lacks. Legally (LGBT-wise) these 2 neighboring states are as different as night and day (in favor of Maryland).

  • Sabrina Akins,
    The mountains in VA are beautiful and not all who live there are stereotypical right-wingers.

  • Crazy Ken should be trying to increase the age of consent to 18, which would be legal. Virginia has some of the least protective sexual assault statutes in the nation.

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