Kansas Court to Hear Appeal Gay Teen’s Case
City Times, June 2, 2004
The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to consider the
American Civil Liberties Union’s appeal on behalf of a gay teenager who was
sentenced to 17 years in prison for consensual oral sex, the ACLU said last
Matthew Limon has already been in prison for four years
and three months—three and a half times longer than the maximum sentence he
would have received if he were straight.
In February of 2000, Limon and another male teen were
both students at the same co-ed residential school for developmentally
disabled youth in Miami County, Kan.
A week after Limon’s 18th birthday, he performed
consensual oral sex on the other teen, who was nearly 15—three years, one
month and a few days younger than Limon.
Limon was convicted under Kansas’s “Romeo and
Juliet” law, which gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers
who have sex with younger teens, but specifically excludes gay teenagers.
This is the second time that his case has been sent to
the Kansas Supreme Court for review. The first time, in July of 2002, the
court refused to consider Limon’s case and the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme
Court to hear it. The High Court sent the case back to a Kansas appeals court,
ordering it to reconsider in light of its decision last summer in Lawrence v.
Texas, which struck down same-sex-only sodomy laws.
In January, the appeals court again upheld Limon’s
conviction. The earliest that the Kansas Supreme Court is likely to hear
arguments in the case will be in August.
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