Michigan bill would leave unconstitutional ban on anal sex on the books

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Anal sex is a felony in Michigan. Not really, but it still says so in the law books and some legislators would really rather you not bring it up.

A bill that passed the state senate last week to prevent animal abusers from adopting at shelters makes some minor tweaks to the state's anti-sodomy law, but keeps the unconstitutional ban mostly intact.

Why a bill against animal abuse even touches on sodomy, also known as anal sex for people who weren't born in the 1500s, is a bit strange. According to MLive, Republican State Sen. Rick Jones, the bill's sponsor, sought to prevent people who had been convicted of bestiality from adopting pets. Since the state's sodomy provision makes no distinction between anal sex between humans or humans and animals, it was the best place to shoehorn it in.


Section 750.158 of the Michigan Code of Law sets out punishments for the "Crime against nature or sodomy." The proposed bill would change the section as follows:

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

These adjustments are pretty minor, and it feels like it would be an equally minor effort to just put a slash through the line containing the words "with mankind" and erase 80 years of anti-gay Michigan law.

But in an interview with the blog The New Civil Rights Movement, Jones made it clear he doesn't want to go near that issue.


"Nobody wants to touch it. I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen," Jones said, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. "You’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional."

Jones is referring to the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Lawrence v. Texas when the court ruled that "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime" (also famous for Judge Antonin Scalia bemoaning the influence of the "homosexual agenda"). Sodomy bans like Michigan's are very obviously unconstitutional in the face of this decision and, as anyone who has ever had anal sex in Michigan can attest, unenforced. And The Associated Press found at least 12 states last year with the same problem.


In the meantime, Sen. Jones's bill is waiting on the state house judiciary committee. No word yet on whether they plan to let it through the back door.

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