The US Supreme court denied VA AG Cuccinelli’s appeal to a district judge ruling in March that struct down Virginia’s sodomy laws. Though sodomy laws had been ruled unconstitutional at the federal level since 2003, Virginia continued to use the law in sex offenses that were never better defined by the state’s General Assembly.
Cuccinelli had appealed the lower court’s decision in April, when the VA ACLU’s Executive Director Claire Gastañaga said, “We had really hoped the Attorney General’s office would just accept the decision and move on.” The AG’s request for an En Banc, or non-trial hearing before the 15 judge panel, was denied several days later. He then appealed to the Supreme Court which today listed the case as one of the many certiorari denied cases, effectively ending the battle of sodomy laws in VA.
Cuccinelli had used the sodomy law issue as part of his bid for governor, creating a website that defended the law. The site claimed many sex offenders in the state would lose their sex offender status if the law was removed.
Virginia’s use of sodomy, and the removal of guilty verdicts on sex offenders, can be attributed to Cuccinelli’s own inaction, however. In 2004, Cuccinelli, then a state senator, had the chance to re-write Virginia’s sex offender laws to fix the loop-hole sodomy laws were used in. Instead, he fought the change and helped strike down any new or changed laws, effectively leaving Virginia to carry the burden of an unconstitutional law.
GayRVA will have more analysis on this issue as it develops.