Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is right that Maryland isn't "the Southern state that [it] used to be" and has become more progressive ("Session ends in a flurry of votes," April 9). Yet, for all the progress that has been made, there remains one blemish on Maryland's progressive record that legislators should act to remove as soon as they reconvene: Maryland's sodomy laws.
Maryland is one of only 18 states in the nation with sodomy laws still on the books. Of those states, half are in the South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia).
On paper, Maryland's sodomy laws criminalize all forms of non-vaginal sex, including consensual sex between opposite-sex couples and consensual sex between same-sex couples. In reality, the state has not prosecuted consensual, noncommercial, private sexual activity, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, since the late 1990s. Still, the state has kept its archaic sodomy laws on the books, allegedly so it could use them to prosecute cases of sexual assault, prostitution, or sex in public, even though those acts are already prohibited under other state criminal laws.