The Maryland House of Delegates has
overwhelmingly approved a bill that seeks to repeal the state's
Delegates voted 133 to 5 on February 20
to repeal the law, the
The legislation is currently pending
before the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, which held a
hearing on the bill on February 20.
In the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas,
the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws as unconstitutional.
As of 2019, such laws remained on the books in sixteen states.
Maryland's Sodomy and Unnatural or
Perverted Sexual Practices Act calls for up to a 10-year prison
sentence for anyone convicted of sodomy, which includes anal and oral
sex between consenting adults.
In 2019, more than 300 violations of
the law were filed in Maryland courts, according to a report given to
lawmakers, the Baltimore Sun reported.
men arrested for agreeing to consensual sex under Louisiana's invalid
“While they may seem like antiquated
laws that technically still exist but are not actually enforced,
these laws have been frequently used to discriminate against the
LGBTQ community,” the ACLU of Maryland said in written testimony
given to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
“As long as Maryland’s law is on
the books, it will continue to endanger LGBTQ people, and leave them
vulnerable to employment discrimination, unfair attacks in child
custody cases, and being labeled as a criminal. States across the
country have been repealing their sodomy laws since 1961. It is time
for Maryland to join them, and live up to our state nickname, ‘The
Free State,’” the ACLU said.