|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
- Note: This article is not about the various compounds of sodium.
Sodomite is a word traditionally used to describe male homosexuals. Anal sex is often known as "sodomy", especially in law. Sodomy can also refer legally to any sex act other than male/female penile-vaginal intercourse.
The biblical book of Genesis describes a city named Sodom as being wicked. God has promised to destroy four Canaanite cities, and Abraham has bartered him down to destroying them only if there are less then ten good people in all of Sodom. Among the specific acts of wickedness mentioned is the story of Lot.
Genesis 19 describes an event at the city of Sodom in which Lot accepts messengers of God into his home as guests. Villagers come to the house and demand the messengers be sent out to be raped. Lot, not wishing to violate the strict Middle-Eastern traditions of "guesting", offers up his virgin daughters instead. (The daughter's opinions are not reported.) At this point, the men break in and the angels kill them, and reward Lot (but not his wife) for his hospitality. This eventually leads to incest, but that is not covered here.
In Ezekiel 16:49, the sin of Sodom is mentioned, but it is not sexual in nature, e.g. the aforementioned incest. "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
There are many interpretations to the story of Sodom. Among them are:
- Male anal sex is wrong
- Homosexuality is wrong
- Rape of men by men is wrong, or at least worse than rape of women by men.
- Violating "guesting" traditions is wrong
- Offering up your daughters for gang rape is, if not exactly great, better than letting your guests be "sodomized"
- God rewards those who uphold the safety of guests in their house.
 Sodomy in law
Sodomy as a sexual term goes back almost 1000 years. Sodomy was seen as a viable punishment in Roman law, and in the early Republic, forcible sodomy was an appropriate retaliation against a trespasser by a paterfamilias. Modern law is obviously slightly, um, different.
In American law, "sodomy" is any sexual act other than penile-vaginal intercourse. The Texas statute overturned by Lawrence v. Texas prohibited "sodomy", and John Geddes Lawrence was convicted at the trial level under this broad definition. Sodomy is still a criminal activity in many states, which is to say, statutes exist on the books that state that sodomy is a crime. However, laws against conduct of sodomy are per se unconstitutional, in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas: fundamental due process protections inhere to prevent the state from regulating private sexual conduct on the basis of mere morality. (An exception is made for cases in which sodomy is an aggravating factor in another crime, such as rape, however.)
The criminalization of sodomy, although not enforced in most states which forbade sodomy, provided many problems for the gay rights movement. The holy grail of the gay rights movement (although "queer theory" adherents disagree) is a Supreme Court holding that homosexuals are "protected class," who cannot be discriminated against. Gay rights activists frequently argue for "protected class" status, by stating that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has no rational basis other than subjective, Christian morality. However, so long as sodomy was criminal, homosexuality could not form a legitimate basis for discrimination, since all (sexually active) homosexuals were per se criminals. Since sodomy is no longer criminal, and also considering Romer v. Evans, homosexual men and women are closer to being considered a protected class, which the law will defend from discrimination.
 Sodom in the modern era
Sodom is thought by some to be under where the Dead Sea is now, which means that in all likelihood that bits and pieces of dead Sodomites get rubbed all over peoples' hands every day in mall kiosks run by shady (but usually really hot, so make sure to watch your fake-flirt alarm) allegedly-Israeli entrepreneurs. Think about that a moment. Unless you realize the entire story is a folk tale, in which case your hands will be really soft for a few hours.
 Famous sodomites
- Oscar Wilde (although the initial accusation was spelled wrong)
- Dan Savage
- Rick "Santorum" Santorum
- Leonard Bernstein
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Alexander the Great (supposedly, but you know those Greeks/Macedonians...)