Michigan Lawmakers Pass Law Banning Oral & Anal Sex Instead of Addressing Flint Water Crisis

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Credit: Boing Boing/ State Senator Rick Jones

Credit: Boing Boing/ State Senator Rick Jones

The water in Flint, Michigan, is contaminated with dangerous amounts of lead and other chemicals that has already claimed the lives of 10 residents. But last week, the state’s Republican legislature found a more pressing issue to tackle: sex.

The Michigan state Senate passed SB-0219 last Thursday, a bill that criminalizes oral and anal sex between two people, or a person and an animal, for that matter. The anti-sodomy bill is drawing harsh criticism from people everywhere, as it is both effectively difficult to legislate what two consenting individuals do in the privacy of their own home and potentially unconstitutional, but also that the nearly 10,000 residents of Flint are still dealing with the fallout of their contaminated water system with little help from lawmakers thus far.

The bill states: “A person who commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal is guilty of a felony.” The felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

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The language is tucked into an animal cruelty bill, which rightly attempts to prevent animal abuse, but inexplicably retains the language “either with mankind,” which effectively bans two persons in either same-sex or heterosexual relationships from performing the “abominable and detestable” acts. Opponents of the bill see it as a veiled attempt to outlaw homosexuality.

Part of the criticism of the anti-sodomy bill stems from the bill being largely unconstitutional, based on the 2003 Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, that banned such laws. The bill would also prove to be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

Other criticism leveled at the bill wonders why the Republican-led Senate felt the need to spend resources and time to push this bill through while many of its residents are dying or falling ill.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House have not addressed the lead-tainted water in Flint, which was caused when Snyder’s administration switched Flint’s public water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in an effort to save the state money.

Activists in the state and around the country allege Snyder knew the Flint River was highly polluted before they made the switch and ignored safety precautions to treat the water to prevent lead from leaching into the water.

Since the change in 2014, 87 people have been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease, 10 of which have died.

The only help to come to Flint residents has been in the form of cases of bottled water being delivered to every household, with much of those efforts coming from charity groups and celebrities.

Maybe to add insult to injury for the people of Flint, Michigan already had an anti-sodomy law on the books. So Thursday’s vote was essentially just to keep an existing (unconstitutional) law intact. But some things are just more important than others.

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