In a loss for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider an appeal of a lower-court ruling that struck down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law.
Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee for Virginia governor, had asked the court to overturn a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that Virginia’s statute was unconstitutional.
On Monday, the high court declined to hear the appeal, according to The Washington Post. The high court's decision leaves the lower-court's ruling in place and sodomy legal between consenting adults.
Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe has used Cuccinelli's stand on the issue to portray him as an an extremist on social issues.
“This case was about using a law that has been repeatedly upheld by Virginia courts to protect a minor from a 47 year-old repeat sexual predator,” Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for the Virginia attorney general’s office, told the Post. “We appealed to the Supreme Court to save a tool Virginia law enforcers use regularly to prosecute child predators. As we’ve said from the beginning, this case had nothing to do with sexual orientation or private acts between consenting adults.”
Cuccinelli voted against a bill as a state senator that would have made clear that the law did not cover private consensual acts between adults.
McAuliffe has called for the law to be updated so it could still target predators without criminalizing sexual behavior between consenting adults.
James Parrish, the executive director of the gay rights organization Equality Virginia, told the Post the General Assembly has had 10 years since the first Supreme Court ruling to update its law and has not done so.
“In our view, this was already decided, and the Supreme Court just echoed that," Parrish said. “I’m sure most Virginians would like to see the General Assembly clean up our code.”
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