Laws proscribing homosexual conduct can be found in the Middle Assyrian Law Codes dating back to 1075 BC. To my knowledge, the Middle Assyrians have never been part of the vast, right-wing conspiracy, which gives the lie to the myth that only blue-nosed prudes who believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition have ever found fault with sodomy.
Every state in the Union at the time of the Founding had laws which made homosexual behavior illegal. In fact, that noted icon of the left, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a law for the state of Virginia that mandated castration as punishment for two men apprehended for male-to-male friskiness.
Sodomy was a felony offense in all 50 states as recently as 1962, and was still a felony in the other 49 states ten years later. Still today, 12 states have sodomy statutes on the books, although our meek acquiescence to judicially activist rulings from the Supreme Court have rendered those unenforceable.
By the way, it's silly to criticize a law just because it's old and antiquated. The First Amendment has been around for 219 years, and I don't hear anybody saying we've got to get rid of it because it's so out of date. The issue is not how old a law is but how right it is.
The fact remains, however, that in nearly 25% of the states in the Union, sodomy is still in the criminal code as illegal behavior.
Sodomy laws were rarely enforced prior to 1962, even when states unanimously condemned the behavior. Enforcement was so rare, in fact, that in both the Bowers case which went before the Supreme Court in 1986 and the Lawrence case from 2003, police officers had to be tricked into entering domiciles where male-to-male sex was taking place. Nobody anywhere was busting into bedrooms or rounding gays up off the streets to lock them up.
This raises the question, then, as to whether sodomy laws should be, or legitimately have been, repealed just because they are rarely enforced.
The answer to this is a clear and unequivocal "No."
Think for a moment of the current social controversies that could potentially be avoided if homosexual conduct was still against the law.
Gays in the military: problem solved. We shouldn't make a place for habitual felons in the armed forces. End of discussion, end of controversy. If someone objects, ask them which other felonies the military ought to overlook in screening recruits.
Gay marriage: problem solved. We should never legalize unions between any two people when the union is forged specifically to engage in felony behavior. Would we sanction, for instance, the formation of a corporation whose stated purpose was to import illegal drugs?
Gay indoctrination in the schools: problem solved. We don't want to raise a generation of schoolchildren to believe that felony behavior is perfectly appropriate. That's why we spend so much money warning students about the danger of drugs.
Hate crimes laws: problem solved. We wouldn't throw a pastor in jail for saying that illegal behavior is not only illegal but also immoral. For instance, he's free to say that murder is not only contrary to man's law but also to God's law. End of the threat to freedom of religion and speech.
Special rights for homosexuals in the workplace: problem solved. No employer should be forced to hire admitted felons to work for him. End of the threat to freedom of religion and freedom of association in the marketplace.
This list could actually be extended, but you get the point. Laws not only curb dangerous and risky behavior, they keep such behavior from being normalized, sanctioned and endorsed by the rest of society, and as such render an enormous benefit to a healthy culture.
The promos for the old movie "American Graffiti" asked the question, "Where were you in '62?" If the same question were asked about the United States, we'd have to answer: in a much better, saner and healthier place when it comes to criminal sexual conduct.