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Logan's Law Controversy

Earlier this month, the Michigan Senate passed a bill aimed at updating regulations protecting animals from abuse. The bill is commonly known as "Logan's Law," a reference to a Siberian Husky that was blinded and severely burned by acid attacks. The law will prohibit convicted animal abusers from adopting animals from shelters for five years and allow shelters free access to the state's criminal record registry.

The bill recently caused a significant media uproar, however, when people discovered that the bill maintained preexisting language criminalizing consenting human sodomy. Back in 2003, the Supreme Court held antisodomy laws to be unconstitutional. Though the language of Michigan's antisodomy law remains on the books, it is an unenforceable provision due to the Supreme Court's decision.

The author of Logan's Law, Senator Rick Jones, explained that he maintained the unconstitutional, unenforceable language in the animal abuse bill because striking the language is unnecessary and may have caused "a heated legislative battle." However, social media and news outlets questioned this explanation, with some leveraging charges of homophobia and others wondering why an unconstitutional provision should remain on the books at all. Initially, some news reports and social media posts also incorrectly reported that, if passed, the law would effectively ban consensual human sodomy in the state.

Following the media uproar over this language, the Michigan House has announced that it will remove the antisodomy language from the bill. While this has settled the particular issue, this controversy has ignited a broader conversation about the need to remove obsolete laws that, while ineffective, may cause people pain, shame, and hassle.

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