Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe

The Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday voted unanimously, 100-0, to pass a bill that removes the ban on oral and anal sex from the state’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute.

“If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony,” reads Part A of the “crimes against nature” statute.

The bill passed Thursday clarifies that language by decriminalizing non-commercial sodomy between consenting adults in private. “Consensual sodomy is not a crime if all persons participating are adults, are not in a public place, and are not committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, aiding, or abetting any act in furtherance of prostitution,” the summary of the bill reads.

The legislation also limits the “crimes against nature” statute to bestiality and incest and adds sodomy to the list of sexual acts that can be used in prosecution of rape and prostitution.

11 years after the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas ruled that state sodomy laws are unconstitutional, there are still more than a dozen states, including Maryland, that have sodomy statutes in their state code.

The bill, which also passed the senate last month, is expected to be signed by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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