Michigan’s GOP-dominated state senate voted last week on a bill that reaffirms the state’s unconstitutional sodomy ban.
On the surface, SB 219 is a bill meant to protect animals from abuse. It also makes sodomy a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
SB 219, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), is part of a package of bills called Logan’s Law, named for a dog that died after being doused in acid. The laws are meant to address animal abuse. This bill, which bars convicted animal abusers from owning pets for five years, updates language in the state’s ban on bestiality and sodomy.
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The bill’s language regarding sodomy—“the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal”—essentially equalizes sex acts between consenting adults with bestiality. Though sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, such laws remain on the books in 14 states.
The ban only applies to homosexual sex in many of those states, but in Michigan, it applies to anal sex between people of any gender.
When asked why he didn’t remove “with mankind” from the bill, thus striking the state’s sodomy ban, Jones told the New Civil Rights Movement that such an amendment would jeopardize the whole bill.
“The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing. It’ll be done,” Jones said. “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.”
SB 219 passed in the state senate last week with the sodomy ban intact, and could head to the house as early as next week. Republicans have a 61-47 advantage in the house.