Last edited: December 31, 2004
Lambda, Arkansas Activists to Announce Challenge to State Sodomy Ban
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, January 28,
News Conference at State Capitol
NEW YORK--Representatives from several Arkansas organizations will
join Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Little Rock, Arkansas, this Wednesday to
announce a lawsuit on behalf of seven courageous Arkansas lesbians and gay men against
that state's sodomy ban.
Several of the plaintiffs also will attend the news conference.
"The government should not be in the business of policing the private behavior of
consenting adults," said Lambda Staff Attorney Suzanne B. Goldberg. "This law
creates a second-class status for lesbians and gay men, criminalizing intimate, sexual
behavior that is perfectly legal for non-gay people. The Arkansas sodomy statute is used
to cause terrible harm to gay people, depriving gay parents of custody of their children
and putting people at risk of losing their professional licenses, their jobs, and their
homes, simply for engaging in sexual intimacy with a loved one," she said.
The state statute makes certain sexual behaviors, including oral sex, between two adults
of the same sex a misdemeanor, punishable by a penalty of up to one year in jail and a
fine of up to $1000.
Lambda will file the suit, seeking that the statute be declared unconstitutional, in the
Chancery Court of Pulaski County, in Little Rock. The plaintiffs argue that the statute
violates their rights to equal treatment and privacy.
Arkansas is one of six states that single out and criminalize the consensual sexual
relations of only lesbian and gay couples. Lambda recently helped overturn similar
same-sex bans in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Montana, and continues to fight to enforce the
equal protection and privacy rights of lesbians and gay men nationwide. The United States
Supreme Court's 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans provides a new and powerful federal tool
for attacking these discriminatory criminal laws.
WHO: Suzanne B. Goldberg, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
David Ivers, Mitchell, Blackstock & Barnes, Several plaintiffs and representatives of
Arkansas organizations that support the lawsuit
WHAT: Announcement of legal challenge to state ban on sodomy for lesbians and gays
WHEN: Wednesday, January 28, 11 am CST
WHERE: Rotunda, State Capitol Building, Little Rock, Arkansas
CONTACT: Peg Byron, 212-809-8585, ext. 230 or 888-987-1984 (pager)
Picado v. Bryant
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