On March 12th, a three-judge panel ruled that a section of Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” a section of Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute that outlaws sodomy between consenting adults, gay or straight, is unconstitutional based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003 known as Lawrence v. Texas.
Virginia’s Attorney General, Kenneth Cuccinelli, filed a petition with the 4th Circuit US Appeals Court to reconsider the determination. The petition requests what is known as an “en banc” hearing before the full 15 judges to reconsider the earlier ruling by the three-judge panel.
Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond issued an order on Monday denying the petition.
None of the court’s judges requested a poll among themselves to determine which, if any of them, favored Cuccinelli’s request for an en banc rehearing of the sodomy case by the court’s 15 active judges and one senior judge.
Under court rules, if no judge calls for a poll or vote on the issue, the petition for a rehearing is automatically denied in what, in effect, becomes a unanimous decision.
“It’s a pretty resounding rejection,” said Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. “There really wasn’t any interest in doing this at all by anybody.”
Jon Stewart had fun with the story Tuesday night: