University of the District of Columbia Law Review


On September 14, 1993, the District of Columbia successfully reformed the sodomy law with which it has been burdened for nearly two centuries. This reform appears at first glance to have been a major victory, not only for the lesbian and gay residents of the District for whom the law represented the greatest threat, but also for proponents of the principles of self-governance. But the road to this victory was a long and difficult one, spanning many decades and testing the outer limits of thd tenets of Home Rule and Congressional oversight of District affairs. This article sets forth the history of the sodomy law in the District of Columbia, from the adoption of Maryland's common law in 1801, through codification, the District's attempt to reform the law, and the Congressional veto of that attempt, to the successful reform last year. But the history of the sodomy law in D.C. is made particularly interesting by the moral issues it embodied, and by the ramifications these issues had on the ability of the District to govern itself.

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