Being against child predation is not something unique to religious homophobes, but has historically been a useful tool for religious homophobes.
AndyJohnson | October 8, 2013
photo via Ilovedutch
The U.S. Supreme Court, presumably in the midst of at least a few more important things to do (finger drumming? trying to get a wristwatch to reflect the sun into Clarence Thomas’s eyes?) has decided to not hear Ken Cuccinelli’s appeal to effectively keep sodomy a felony in Virginia. The highest court in the land declined to hear said appeal Monday. The latest on AG Cuccinelli’s resume of legal failures, this raises the question of whether or not this dinosaur of a law will go extinct forever.
The “Crimes Against Nature” act made it a class 6 felony to engage in oral, anal and you-name-it types of intercourse, and was widely received as a law that targeted homosexual relationships.
However, the case that ended up bringing down the law was that of William Scott MacDonald, who had been charged under the act for having ‘illegal’ heterosexual oral (regretfully to the less missionary-minded conservative straight males, still sodomy) sex with at least one underage girl. While not as cut and dry as someone being arrested for sodomy alone, MacDonald had his conviction overturned by a federal appeals court in March.
Cuccinelli, jumping to action like an angry parent at a children’s softball game, had his first appeal for an en banc hearing rejected by April. He then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court soon after. Undoubtedly this situation presented itself to the Cuccinelli camp as an opportunity to
play on the ignorance and fears of some undecided voters as well as rally his shrinking fanbase save the children.
Cuccinelli described homosexual acts, but somehow not homosexuality as “intrinsically wrong” in 2009 and implied this was the reason he supported the law. He has not spoken publicly on the appeal’s rejection yet, but a spokesperson stated that the AG’s efforts were “to save a tool Virginia law enforcers use regularly to prosecute child predators.”
Openly gay lawyer and GayRVA’s legal correspondent Michael Hamar, familiar with Cuccinelli’s legal monkey business, asked if these defenses were legitimate, or even hard to see through. “There are other statuets that can be utilized,” said Hamar.
The legal limbo around sodomy was what many must suspect at this point: you don’t need laws banning sodomy to protect CHILDREN from it. Cuccinelli is trying to pull the world’s shittiest wool over our eyes. It would appear Cuccinelli is deciding whether to go with such a watery excuse, or to stick with his “natural law” homophobia, the latter of which is more in the spirit of the law itself.
This is because it was drafted by religious homophobes and has consistently been backed by religious homophobes. Being against child predation is not something unique to religious homophobes, but has historically been a useful tool for religious homophobes.
From trying to make NAMBLA appear to be the forefront of gay rights in the 80′s, to switching up your defense of a terrifying autocratic dinosaur-law, religious homophobes of all varieties have tickled the underarms of America’s moral outrage to best suit their god/gay-fearing needs by riling up the idiots who will listen.
Of course Ken Cuccinelli will hide behind his faith, let alone his other misdoings. This is about as Christian as throwing a golden ox through a stained-glass Virgin Mary. Of course he will use his own faith to appear pious on TV ads, but this ceases to matter when we stop beating around the repression bush.
Sadly, the hypocrisy we aim to expose will serve as strawman-bait for the seething, numerous, and diverse world of homophobes. But this should be besides the point; get these laws off the books and trust progress. While anti-gay laws may be supported by somewhat moderate social conservatives, they were drafted by the extreme.
We live in an age where you can make news by simply espousing your hatred if enough people will read or listen. Surely we wouldn’t allow brazen trespasses of liberty like this – especially ones so difficult to ban now-to become acceptable.
But back to this particular law’s last stand. The commonwealth of Virginia had been applying this law in murky constitutional waters since 2003 when SCOTUS held that anti-sodomy laws were in violation of the due process clause of the 14th amendment. Cuccinelli’s reasoning behind the law’s necessity was to fight pedophilia, but this clashes with his consistent support of the clause in the law which is unconstitutional.
In other words, the part of the law that may or may not help fight pedophilia is entirely separate from the part that has been implemented illegally since 2003.
If Cuccinelli were as interested in the law as a “tool to help children,” he could have easily removed the unconstitutional portion and gone about his day protecting children some time ago. In 2003, when he was a fledgling VA Senator, Cuccinelli was part of the committee that was supposed to update and address the then unconstitutional sodomy law and right the state-level wrongs. He, of course, blew off this responsibility and worked hard to keep sodomy on the books.
Cuccinelli has never been afraid to lose in court. And while having an appeal struck down by the highest court in the land is by no means a power move by his campaign, he certainly is a veteran of judicial defeat (losing his own personal challenge to Obamacare, for instance.) This most recent loss will not likely garner the same public attention – the kind you would hope would befall a public figure trying to keep these archaic laws alive – and sink an AG’s campaign for governor. No, sadly Cuccinelli will probably shudder the doors on his pro-anti-sodomy website, and bury this like so many past humiliations.
So the story here, in the end, isn’t Ken Cuccinelli. The story isn’t these archaic laws had hung around nearly long enough to be exploited and re-legitimized by the anti-progressive revivalist. The story is that we might be witnessing the death of these laws.
The story is that the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling by inaction in this case, has affirmed the lower courts decision: prosecuting people for their sexual relationships is unconstitutional. Morally dubious, dystopian-futuristic and absolutely terrifying from a human standpoint, yes. But from a legal standpoint unconstitutional, and save the appeals. It looks like this train has left the station, and we can (fingers crossed) move on.