xxii Chronology 1805 Although Louisiana was founded as a French colony with no sodomy law, its first criminal code enacted in 1805 lists sodomy as a criminal offense and requires a penalty of life imprisonment at hard labor. 1806 Ohio repeals its common-law reception statute thereby making sodomy legal. Surprisingly, sodomy would be legal for the next 60 years. 1807 An extremely harsh sodomy law is signed in Indiana, including flogging, and is signed by Governor William Henry Harrison, the only sodomy law ever signed by a future U.S. president. 1810 Maryland Court of Appeals publishes the first sodomy case in U.S. history. 1812 In the first case of its kind in the nation, Virginia Supreme Court decides that emission of semen is unnecessary for the completion of sodomy. This is a rejection of English law and most states follow suit with this approach. Missouri receives laws from the Louisiana Territory that include life sen- tence for sodomy. It creates its own sodomy law in 1835 with the similar punishment and uses the term crime against nature. 1814 New York trial court publishes earliest known slander case in the United States involving the accusation of sodomy. 1816 A new legal code that criminalizes sodomy is adopted by Michigan. In the list of crimes prosecutable by the state by order of their perceived severity, sodomy was the fourth most heinous crime after murder, manslaughter and treason, and ahead of rape. 1817 Georgia was originally settled as a penal colony and its charters specifically stated that it was not to receive its laws from England. As such, Georgia is the only founding state not to have sodomy statutes thereby making sodomy legal. Finally, in 1817, 85 years after its founding, Georgia enacts a sodomy law with provisions similar to English common law. 1819 The Arkansas Territory receives Missouri law during its organization and in- cludes antisodomy law requiring a compulsory life imprisonment sentence. 1820 Maine is formed and adopts the laws of Massachusetts making sodomy illegal, punishable by hard labor for a maximum of 10 years, and applies only to men. 1821 The nation’s first obscenity case involving same-sex eroticism is heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. 1826 Delaware reduces the penalty for sodomy from death to a maximum of three years’ solitary confinement, a fine of $1,000, and a public flogging of up to 60 lashes. The law had used different terms for “negroes” or “mulattoes” but these terms were eliminated. 1827 Illinois prohibits persons convicted of sodomy from voting and serving on a jury. This is the first state to impose such provisions limiting the civil rights of those convicted of sodomy. 1829 Tennessee adopts its own criminal code in which sodomy is defined as a “crime” against nature.
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