"This case directly affects only the fornication law but makes it absolutely clear how the court would rule were the sodomy law before it," said Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Virginia.
Virginia's anti-sodomy law prohibits oral and anal sex even for married couples, but gay-rights advocates say the statute is only used to target homosexuals. Legislators for years have rejected efforts to repeal the law. They left it on the books again last year even after the Texas decision held that such laws are unconstitutional.
"It's a strong message to legislators that they must repeal Virginia's sodomy law," Willis said. "Now both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Virginia Supreme Court have spoken on essentially the same issue."
The court said that "decisions by married or unmarried persons regarding their intimate physical relationship are elements of their personal relationships that are entitled to due process protection."