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Arizona Repeals Sex Laws

Sodomy, Oral Sex, and Cohabitation are Legal

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On Tuesday, May 8, 2001 Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull signed into law a bill that repealed a ban on sodomy, oral sex and cohabitation.

According to Planet Out News, it was just about one year earlier that an attempt to repeal the 1901 Arizona sodomy statutes criminalizing certain sex acts for both heterosexuals and homosexuals failed in the State Senate. At that time it was acknowledged that the laws were not enforced. Still, the majority voted that "the government has a proper role in setting standards."

The Governor stated in her letter to the Speaker of the House, "The laws that are repealed by HB 2016 are unenforced and unenforceable. Keeping archaic laws on the books does not promote high moral standards; instead it teaches the lesson that laws are made to be broken. Moral standards are set by families and those they turn to for guidance, such as religious and community leaders." The Governor went on to say that "People should not interpret my signature on this bill as a signal that I condone all of the conduct that this bill makes lawful; I don't. But I choose not to judge the conduct of others, even when I know others will judge me for signing this bill."

The State of Arizona now joins twenty-six other states where sodomy laws have been repealed by a legislative action. Seven states had their sodomy laws invalidated by judicial action. Twelve states and Puerto Rico still have sodomy laws which apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Five states have sodomy laws which apply only to homosexuals. To see which states have taken the various positions on these laws, visit Sodomy Laws , which also has a section outlining which other countries still have such laws.

According to The Arizona Republic , the Governor's Office received over 6,000 phone calls expressing displeasure at her action on the day she signed the bill compared to only 3,600 phone calls encouraging her to sign the bill. More calls will follow, to be sure.

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