The campaign of Virginia state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli won’t say if he’s committed any crimes against nature.
Cuccinelli, who is running to be Virginia’s next governor, recently petitioned a federal court to reverse its ruling that the state’s archaic “Crimes Against Nature” law is unconstitutional. That statute outlaws oral and anal sex between consenting adults—gay or straight, married or single—making such “carnal” acts a felony. The law is unconstitutional because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated such “anti-sodomy laws” across the country.
As my colleague Kate Sheppard notes, Cuccinelli’s office claims that it is appealing the decision because the state’s regular statutory rape law doesn’t allow it to pursue the harshest punishment against a 47-year-old man who solicited oral sex from teenagers (who were above the age of consent at the time). But as Josh Israel recounts at ThinkProgress, Cuccinelli helped kill an effort to reform the Crimes Against Nature law in order to make it comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence, possibly because the proposed law didn’t focus on homosexuality. “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong,” Cuccinelli said in 2009. “They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that…They don’t comport with natural law.”
If Virginia’s ban on “unnatural” sex acts applied nationwide, the Virginia law would make 90 percent of men and women in the United States between the age of 25 and 44 criminals. Here’s a chart from the National Center on Health Statistics on sexual behavior in the US:
Violating Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature statute was a class six felony in the state, and carried a penalty of between one and five years in prison. The Virginia Department of Corrections only has a capacity of around 30,000. Given that 64.6 percent of Virginia’s 8 million residents are between the ages of 18 and 65, the state most likely lacks the prison capacity to house millions of Virginians who, in Cuccinelli’s view, have committed crimes against nature.
But what about Cuccinelli and his aides? Mother Jones asked his campaign if Cuccinelli or anyone working for his campaign had ever engaged in any of the prohibited conduct and whether Cuccinelli would fire any campaign staff who had done so. We have received no response. But if Cuccinelli’s campaign is being run by criminals against nature, don’t the voters have a right to know?