Chronology xxiii 1833 Georgia’s sodomy law is modified to define sodomy as “carnal knowledge and connection against the order of nature by man with man, or in the same unnatural manner with woman.” Such wording totally ignored the possibility of women having sex with another woman. The mind-set of the time couldn’t conceive of lesbianism. 1836 North Carolina is the last state in the Union to abolish reference to old English legal customs and laws to enact its own sodomy statute. Texas adopts its own criminal code and recognizes common-law crimes. Although sodomy is not mentioned, the English penalty of death applies. Wisconsin adopts the laws of Michigan Territory, including its sodomy provisions. Abraham Lincoln enters into a four-year relationship with Joshua Fry Speed sharing the same bed. Both Lincoln and Speed were forced into their own marriages, but Lincoln never forgot Speed and wanted to name his first child after him (which Mary Lincoln forbade). As president, Lincoln shared his bed with men often when Mary was away. 1838 Iowa Territory receives the laws of Wisconsin Territory, which were based on Michi- gan laws and criminalizes sodomy with a penalty of up to three years in prison. 1840 Iowa abrogates all laws received from Michigan and Wisconsin, which means there are no sodomy statutes in effect. Iowa will operate without any sodomy laws in effect for almost a half century. 1841 Christian missionaries convert much of the population of Hawaii, including King Kamehameha III, in the 1820s and 1830s. A curious and puzzling edict is passed in 1841 that specifies “men and boys are forbidden to run in crowds after new things. Whosoever does this in an indecent manner shall be pun- ished thus he shall be taken to the house of confinement and remain till he pay a rial [unit of currency], and be sent at liberty.” 1842 Florida enacts a sodomy statute that raised the penalty for sodomy conviction to death—an action that makes Florida the first state to raise the penalty for sodomy to death. 1843 Oregon adopts the laws of Iowa but it is unclear if this includes a sodomy provision. Oregon, in its early years, was settled almost exclusively by men and Portland, in particular, was seen as a new Sodom with open debauchery and immorality. 1845 Florida adds to its sodomy statute to state that persons convicted of sodomy are forbidden from being a witness in a trial. 1848 The first women’s rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Susan B. Anthony and other women are ejected from the convention, propelling them into the national limelight. 1850 Sodomy provisions specifying five years to life are enacted in California under common-law definition. The law is passed just months before Califor- nia becomes a state making it unclear if the law was valid.
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