Consenting Adults


Many gay activists are backing a boycott of Colorado because voters in that state approved a constitutional amendment last November denying homosexuals status as a protected minority. But at least Colorado allows gays to legally have sexual relationships with one another; that's something that almost half of all states don't allow. Currently, sodomy is illegal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. In many states anyone—gay or straight—who practices oral or anal sex has committed a felony.

Since the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Georgia's anti-sodomy law, gay activists and civil libertarians have worked to have such laws overturned at the state level. Many states' constitutions have broader and more explicit protection of privacy than the U.S. Constitution. The results have been mixed. Last year, the Kentucky Supreme Court became the first in the nation to throw out an anti-sodomy law on the grounds that it violated the state constitution. Lower courts in Texas and Michigan have also declared anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional, but those decisions are under appeal. The only other challenge to reach a state supreme court occurred in Maryland, where the court threw out that portion of the law applying to heterosexuals but denied homosexual sodomy any protection.