MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An appeals court has ruled that an Alabama law criminalizing consensual homosexual conduct is unconstitutional.<br />
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously overturned the state's anti-sodomy law. The judges said it was the first time the law's constitutionality had been addressed since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Texas law in 2003.<br />
Civil and gay-rights advocates say the ruling is a step in the right direction.<br />
The state attorney general's office brought the case to the appeals court after a prosecutor failed to get a jury to convict a defendant on the felony charge of first-degree sodomy. The jury had convicted the defendant of the lesser, non-felony charge of sexual misconduct.<br />
The Human Rights Campaign says Alabama is one of a dozen states with anti-sodomy laws on the books.
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House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
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