Ken Cuccinelli challenges Virginia's sodomy ruling

The attorney general appealed a decision that the state's ban on sodomy is unconstitutional

Published April 3, 2013 6:56PM (EDT)

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, has asked a federal court to reconsider a decision to overturn the state's ban on sodomy, which is currently part of Virginia's “Crimes Against Nature” statute.

Cuccinelli filed a petition with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the full 15-judge court to review a decision made last month by a three-judge panel. The panel ruled 2-1 that the statute is unconstitutional based on the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence vs. Texas.

The Washington Blade reports:

Caroline Gibson, a spokesperson for Cuccinelli, told the Blade in an email that Cuccinelli believes the dissenting judge on the three-judge panel was correct in stating the Lawrence decision applies only to sex between consenting adults in private and doesn’t apply to cases involving a minor. The case in which the three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Virginia sodomy law involved a man charged with soliciting oral sex from a 17-year-old woman.

“We believe the panel decision was erroneous, and that the dissent correctly concludes that the petitioner was not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief, Gibson said, referring to the court’s decision to overturn the man’s conviction under the sodomy law. “So the full court should have the opportunity to decide this matter,” she said.

A spokesman for Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor against Cuccinelli, said in a statement that "This is just another example of Ken Cuccinelli ignoring the economy and instead focusing on his divisive ideological agenda," according to TPM.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Gay Rights Ken Cuccinelli Republicans Terry Mcaulliffe Virginia