Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Members of the Judiciary
Committee, my name is Kevin Ivers, and I am on the board of directors of Capital Area Log
Cabin, an auxiliary organization of the District of Columbia Republican Committee. I am
here today to voice my support for the Right to Privacy Amendment Act of 1993. As a
Republican, I am particularly concerned about keeping the government out of the private
lives of individuals and families in this country. The best kind of legislation is that
which limits government, and the Right to Privacy Amendment Act meets that standard.
This legislation is long overdue. The community no longer has any use for the archaic
law that this legislation will amend.
Sodomy laws should remain to prohibit forcible sexual attacks, and sexual acts with
persons under the established age of consent. Acts of prostitution should remain illegal
under such laws as well. The Right to Privacy Amendment Act provides all these
prohibitions to remain in place, and the community will continue to be protected from
activity that it should not tolerate. This legislation does not legalize prostitution, nor
does it change the age of consent.
However, the latitude of the current law which prohibits consensual, non-commercial
acts in the privacy of the home, even between married individuals, will be curbed as it
should be. Government should have no role in dictating standards of behavior in the
bedroom between consenting adults. Such is the responsibility of the individual and his or
her own conscience.
This legislation does not create any "special rights" for any particular
group. In fact, it will decriminalize private behavior which over 90% of the residents of
the District of Columbia engage in. Surely, if the current law were enforced, nearly the
entire population of the city would be facing ten years in prison. Those who criticize
this legislation don't seem to realize how ridiculous the current law truly is, and how it
should have been changed long ago.
Whatever issues of personal morality that are in debate among various segments of
society remain unaddressed by this legislation. Most mainline conservatives, including
William F. Buckley, now agree that laws which criminalize private, consensual,
non-commercial sexual acts between adults are ludicrous, and that fellow conservatives
should be unafraid to repeal them.
No matter how much certain groups object to the private behavior of others, there is an
absolute limit to how the government may be used to express those objections. The Right to
Privacy Amendment Act reaffirms that limitation of government power, and does not
prejudice any religious or moral arguments from any segment of society.
I am a gay man, and I represent a gay and lesbian organization today. But I feel I
speak for the overwhelming majority of citizens in the District of Columbia by stating
that the government has no rights, only privileges. And intruding into the most personal
aspects of my private life is a privilege that I will never grant to any government. That
is the principle upon which we built this country. That is the principle that you must
uphold as public servants.
I thank the committee for letting me appear today, and I strongly urge the Council to
pass this legislation.