a radically new SEX LAW (Jan, 1964)

This was a remarkably progressive law for 1961. Texas enforced it’s anti-sodomy laws up until 2003 when a 6-3 decision of the supreme court ruled them unconstitutional.

a radically new SEX LAW

Private sex acts of any nature between consenting adults, says Illinois. are no longer illegal. By Donald Webster Cory and John P. LeRoy

Mr. Cory is the well-known author of “The Homosexual in America” and editor of “Homosexuality: A Cross-Cultural Approach.”
Mr. LeRoy is a free-lance writer.

The laws under which American men and women are regulated in their sexual behavior and are punished for sexual transgressions are written in the 50 different state penal codes of the United States and are interpreted in the courts of 50 states.

These 50 different state penal codes often stand in sharp contrast to each other. What is legal in one state becomes illegal if you cross the border; what is mildly punished by a light fine in one community is severely punished by a heavy jail sentence just a few miles away. And almost all of these state codes are outmoded.

No wonder, then, that the American Law Institute has called for a revision of penal codes, particularly insofar as sexual behavior is concerned. The recommendations of the Institute have by and large been adopted, together with other reforms and changes, in a quiet manner in the state of Illinois. For in January 1961 the legislature of that state enacted into law a new penal code replacing completely an oat-dated and inconsistent one.

To bring the code into line with the needs of modern society, a committee was set up by the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations, and was headed by Professor Charles H. Bowman of the Illinois University College of Law.

Why should sexual conduct be governed by law, the committee asked itself. The purpose of such law, it contends, is not to enforce standards of morality, but to protect the individual from violence, to protect the young from advances by adults against whom they are virtually helpless, to protect the public from open display of sexual behavior which disturbs the peace, and to protect marriage and the family so that it can function normally.

The code covers, in addition to other crimes, rape, deviate sexual conduct, contributing to the sexual delinquency of children, adultery, incest, bigamy, prostitution, soliciting, and obscenity. It is probably the most realistic and enforceable sex code that has been enacted into law in the United States.

In the section covering rape, one major change was effected. Rape no longer includes what has usually been termed “statutory” or “nonviolent” or “nonforcible” rape. In other words, it is not called rape unless the male uses force and violence against the female. If she gives her consent, but is under age, this is handled as “indecent liberties with a child” or “contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child.”

The male committing rape must be 14 years old or more; he must have intercourse by force and against the woman’s will, which may include her being unconscious or mentally deranged; and there must be penile-vaginal penetration. If the forcible act is noncoital, it involves deviate sexual assault, which is punishable, but is distinguished from rape itself.

In the sections of the code dealing with deviate sexual acts, only noncoital acts between humans come within the law.

Thus, the Illinois code removes from the books all punishment of sexual gratification in which one of the participants is an animal.

These acts, more widespread in the American rural communities, and particularly among adolescents, than any pre-Kinsey Americans had imagined, had been punished only on the rarest occasions. According to the committee, such acts are “usually brief, youthful ‘experiments’ rather than part of a pattern of conduct” and that to focus “public attention on the person who happens to be found in such an act serves no useful social purpose and may seriously impair the development of the accused to a normal life.”

The committee defined a deviant act as being “any act of sexual gratification involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.” Such acts are illegal in Illinois only if they are committed by force and violence, or by the threat of force, by any person, male or female; or if they involve youth under age of consent, or if they offend public decency.

Thus, consenting adults committing such acts in private, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, are no longer violating the law.

A section entitled “Indecent Liberties with a Child” punishes anyone, 17 years or older, who has intercourse with, performs deviate conduct with, or lewdly fondles, arouses, or acts to arouse or to satisfy the sexuality of a child under the age of 18.

If the child has reached the age of 16 but is under the age of 18, this involves “Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of a Child” and the punishment in the latter case is up to 1 year in jail (plus a fine) whereas in the former (the child being less than 16 years) the punishment is from 1 to 20 years in the penitentiary. A further category, punished less severely, is made, when a child under the age of 13 is solicited, but no act committed.

The traditional taboos against incestuous behavior are so strong that all societies reflect the prohibition in their criminal law. The Illinois code differentiates between the act when the male is the father, calling this aggravated incest, and applying penalties more severe than other types of incest.

Undoubtedly, this is because of the strong position of influence that the father can exert over the willing or unwilling daughter. Furthermore, if the daughter is not related by blood, but is a stepdaughter or foster-daughter, it is still aggravated incest, if she is under the age of 18.

Public indecency turned out to be an interesting catch-all for a variety of acts in public. These acts could involve actual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct (that is, noncoital sex acts), nudity or public exposure designed “to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of the person” or, finally, a lewd fondling or caress — but only if the other person is of the same sex. By public place, the code spells out its intent: “any place where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by others.”

But here the committee has made a very real differentiation between heterosexual and homosexual activities. It is quite all right for a boy to be engaged in mild petting with a girl on a park bench, but petting to the same degree, between a boy and a boy, would be considered indecent.

However, although two males cannot publicly engage in activities as intimate as those permissible between a male and a female, this

in no way punishes a male who might suggest to another male that they should engage in such acts in private.

Revision of the statutes against prostitutes covered not only female, but male, sex acts for cash. It is unlawful not only to be a prostitute, male or female, but to solicit for a prostitute, arrange for a person to practice prostitution, keep a place for it, patronize a prostitute, or be a pimp.

The acts of prostitution are clearly defined as those in which money is accepted in return for sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct. The law does not define the granting of sexual favors in return for non-monetary gifts, such as jewelry or furs, as acts of prostitution.

The new code in Illinois should go a long way toward reducing blackmail, reducing entrapment, reducing the fear in which many people live. In addition to numerous other changes, it radically affects the homosexual, for homosexual acts, committed in private, between two consenting adults, are now completely legal. Furthermore, even that widespread phenomenon, homosexual “cruising,” which results in so much blackmail and arrest, is now within the law.