This Article will first discuss the legal importance of challenging sodomy laws, even though those laws are rarely enforced. It will then discuss the importance of incorporating international and comparative law in formulating these challenges. In Section II, Professor Charlene Smith will discuss past and future strategies, focusing on the topics of equal protection, morality, and the difference (or lack thereof) between acts and status. In Section III, Professor Jim Wilets will explore incorporating international and comparative law into domestic challenges to U.S. sodomy laws. This Article will demonstrate that there is binding Supreme Court authority requiring all U.S. courts to respect, whenever possible, the international obligations of the United States federal government when interpreting federal and state law. This Article will also demonstrate that there is a clearly articulated federal policy, by both the Executive Branch and United States Senate, to respect and implement those international obligations that require the United States to decriminalize same-sex consensual sexual relations.
Charlene Smith and James Wilets, Lessons from the Past and Strategies for the Future: Using Domestic, International and Comparative Law to Overturn Sodomy Laws, 24 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 49 (2000).