RICHMOND - Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is fighting a district court ruling that overturned the state's anti-sodomy law last month.

Cuccinelli, a candidate for governor, said a three-judge panel ruled erroneously when it struck down in a 2-1 decision the state's long standing "Crimes Against Nature" law that bans non-vaginal sex between consenting adults, gay or straight.

Cuccinelli is now petitioning the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to bring the issue before the full 15-judge court for reconsideration, his office said.

"We're not appealing a ruling on statute itself, but a habeas corpus decision where the 4th Circuit wasn't really entitled to answer that question," Cuccinelli spokeswoman Caroline Gibson said. The Washington Blade, a newspaper focused on gay news, first reported Wednesday that Cuccinelli petitioned the U.S. appeals court to on March 26.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2003 that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

A spokesman for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli's fall opponent, said the attorney general's petition "is just another example of Ken Cuccinelli ignoring the economy and instead focusing on his divisive ideological agenda."

The appeals court ruled on the 2005 conviction of a 47-year-old Virginia man for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and for criminal solicitation of a 17-year-old girl to commit sodomy.