Buggery Law: Virginia, 1661

death for "buggery"

Since 1618 the laws of England had apparently been informally enforced in the Virginia Colony (see Sodomy law: Virginia, May 24, 1610).

In 1661 the laws of England were expressly adopted by the Virginia assembly, making the English "buggery" law official in the colony. This provided death for buggery (the term for sodomy in English law).(2) The death penalty for the crime was abolished (for free persons) in 1800.



  1. Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), p.104, citing Thomas Jefferson,Notes on the State of Virginia, p. 126.