- For the book by Robert Kennedy Jr. see Crimes Against Nature.
Crime against nature is a legal term used in published cases in the United States since 1814 and normally defined as a form of sexual behavior that is not considered natural and is seen as a punishable offense in several US states. In the broadest sense, a crime against nature could even include masturbation and unusual sexual positions, but these are not seen as such. Sexual practices that are often considered to be crimes against nature are anal sex, bestiality, homosexual acts, fellatio, cunnilingus and necrophilia. The term is sometimes also seen as a synonym for sodomy or buggery.
Currently, the term crime against nature is still used in the statutes
of and thus considered to be a crime
in the following American
As an example, Louisiana Revised Statutes
(R.S.) 14:89 provides:A. Crime against nature is: (1) The unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex or with an animal, except that anal sexual intercourse between two human beings shall not be deemed as a crime against nature when done under any of the circumstances described in R.S. 14:41, 14:42, 14:42.1 or 14:43. Emission is not necessary; and, when committed by a human being with another, the use of the genital organ of one of the offenders of whatever sex is sufficient to constitute the crime. (2) The solicitation by a human being of another with the intent to engage in any unnatural carnal copulation for compensation. B. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.
Louisiana's legislature enacted its crime against nature law in 1805 and revised it 1807, 1896, 1942, 1975, and again 1982. The 1942 act took the present definition from § 50 of the 1937 proposed Illinois Penal Code since it was more explicit than the former Louisiana statute. In its present form, R.S. 14:89 is part of title 14 of Louisiana' criminal code and categorized in section 89 as offenses affecting the public sexual immorality.
On April 28, 2005 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal of Louisiana ruled unconstitutional the parts of the statute that criminalize adult consensual anal and oral sex.
Except for the above seven states, all other states in the United States have repealed their crimes against nature laws. By many, the crimes against nature law is now considered to be archaic
and is seen as a law that discriminates against certain sexualities. A further problem is that it is not clearly defined what acts are actually considered to be a crime against nature. Some believe that these laws would not stand up in a constitutional challenge to the US Supreme Court
following the 2003
ruling in Lawrence v. Texas
, but it is important to note that these states generally prohibit "crimes of nature" regardless of the genders of those performing the acts. One of the biggest advocates against the law is the American Civil Liberties Union
As of 1994: In the state of Montana
, same sex deviate sexual conduct
is a criminal offense with punishment being up to ten years in prison and fines of up to 50.000 USD
. In Mississippi
, unnatural sexual conduct
allows for a maximum prison sentence of also ten years. South Carolina
forbids the abominable crime of buggery
without further elaboration, the maximum punishment being 5 years in prison and fines of up to 500 USD. Further, several US states have sodomy laws
specifically outlawing sodomy, which can be seen as being similar to a crime against nature. Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code
also prohibits any form of male to male sexual conduct and article 377 of the Indian Penal Code
(since 1860) calls for a maximum punishment, being life imprisonment, for all sexual acts against human nature
The term crime against nature is sometimes also used to describe acts of animal abuse
or acts that are considered to be damaging to the natural environment
. Certain medical
experiments and developments such as cloning
are also labeled as crimes against nature by some. In 2003, crimes against nature was also the title of a widely published letter by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
, by the December 11, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone