Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was charged with a crime against nature for forcibly committing cunnilingus on a female victim.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Cunnilingus is not within the scope of Tennessee’s “crimes against nature” statute.
Issue. In light of prior state court opinions, is cunnilingus within the scope of Tennessee’s “crimes against nature” statute?
Held. No, the judgment of the District Court is reversed and the case remanded to the district court.
Sodomy at common law included only copulation per anum.
The Stephens case only hinted that Tennessee “probably” accepts the broader view of crimes against nature (including all acts of unnatural copulation).
Even had the Court expressly adopted the broader view, such view proscribing “carnal copulation by human beings with each other against nature, including all acts of unnatural copulation” would still not preclude men of common intelligence from necessarily guessing at its meaning and differing at its application as applied to cunnilingus.
Discussion. The Court reasons that past case law has differed in its definitions of “crimes against nature” so that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess as to whether it includes cunnilingus.