Gay Sex Still Illegal in Kansas

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/5136575839/sizes/m/in/photostream/">david_shankbone</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Friday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released a long list of state statutes that he thinks are outdated and should be tossed out. He even issued an executive order last year to create a new position, the Office of the Repealer, to come up with that list. But his final product did not include the repeal of the state’s anti-sodomy law.

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional in 2003, Kansas has kept its own law on the books. Kansas Statute 21-3505 lists “criminal sodomy”–that which occurs “between persons who are 16 or more years of age and members of the same sex or between a person and an animal”–as a misdemeanor. Straight sodomy is a-OK.

Even though the state sodomy law is pretty much moot in terms of enforcement, it still has an impact on the lives of gays in the state, as the New York Times reports:

The decision, despite public and private lobbying, has angered gay leaders here. “We were pretty much the first in line with our request to have this unconstitutional ban on gay and lesbian relations repealed,” said Thomas Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition.

“This isn’t just some archaic law that’s sitting on the books and isn’t bothering anyone,” Mr. Witt continued. “It’s used as justification to harass and discriminate against people, and it needs to go.”

And in case you’re wondering what other states continue to consider sodomy illegal, Tim Murphy created this handy map.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest