Newspaper Column: Sex and Virginia Law




Nicoson, William J.

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Reston Times


What? You say you never knew you were guilty of a crime? Well, my guess is that a vast number of Virginia adults have been guilty of the same conduct without suspecting that the Virginia Code branded them as criminals. The Virginia House of Delegates in its 2004 session passed a bill which would have repealed this section of the Code, but the Senate never took it up. Then, last month, the Supreme Court of Virginia came to our rescue. In an opinion by Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy, the court ruled that Section 18.2-344 violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “We find no principled way to conclude that the specific act of intercourse is not an element of a personal relationship between unmarried persons or that the Virginia statute criminalizing intercourse between unmarried persons does not improperly abridge a personal relationship that is within the liberty interest of persons to choose.” Martin v. Ziherl, 8, Jan. 14, 2005.


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Virginia House of Delegates