While voting on a series of bills known as “Logan’s Law,” Michigan lawmakers have successfully voted to make the sexual acts of oral and anal intercourse illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The law, which was originally written to require non-profit animal shelters to run background checks on any person attempting to adopt an animal, included the following literature:
Any person who shall commit the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 15 years, or if such person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life.
The bill was introduced by Michigan State Senator Rick Jones. Outside of the rather comical and ambiguous reference to “the abominable and detestable crime against nature,” the problem created by this wording appears to be easily fixable by simply removing the reference to “mankind.” However, Jones recently told The New Civil Rights Movement that his reason for not removing this reference was to prevent having to add further literature to the bill that may draw attention to the bill’s unconstitutionality.
“Nobody wants to touch it. I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen. You’d get both sides screaming and you end up with a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.” – Rick Jones
The constitutionality of anti-sodomy laws has already been addressed by the Supreme Court in the Lawrence v. Texas case decision of 2003. In short, it is indeed unconstitutional. The implementation and enforcement of such a ban is clearly impossible and unethical. By refusing to remove less than a line of legislation to avoid jeopardizing the success of the bill, the success of the bill’s initial purpose is now jeopardized by its own unconstitutionality. This may have been unclear to the Michigan legislature at the time, but will come into focus very rapidly should the bill be challenged in the Supreme Court by anyone unfortunate enough to be charged with sodomy in Michigan.
This post was written by Nathaniel Owen.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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