Civil Rights Groups Rally in Kansas
February 19, 2003
TOPEKA, Ks.—About 130 people,
self-proclaimed “sexual outlaws,” rallied on the steps of the Kansas
capitol building on Saturday against a state law that criminalizes sexual
relations between people of the same sex.
We can’t come up with any other explanation except for
bigotry,” said Christine Robinson, protest organizer and a sociologist at
Organizers told the The Topeka Capital-Journal that the
rally was organized to demonstrate broad public support for the repeal of
antiquated morals laws, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules next
month in a sweeping challenge to state sodomy laws. Two men from Texas are
appealing their 1998 convictions under a Texas sodomy statute, claiming it
unfairly targets gay people. If the Supreme Court rules the Texas law to be
unconstitutional, the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma statutes would likewise be
Steve Brown of the Kansas Democratic Party LGBT Caucus
told the Capital-Journal he doubted the state legislature in Kansas would act
to repeal the law on its own.
“Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule in our favor and
we won’t have to deal with legislators,” said Brown. “This is Kansas. I
have lots of faith in the Democratic Party, but this is Kansas.”
Robinson asked protesters to write Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
and ask that she commute the sentence of Matthew Limon, who is serving 17
years and two months in prison for having sex as an 18-year-old with an
underage boy in February.
Robinson pointed out that, under the state’s “Romeo
and Juliet” law, had either Limon or the other boy been a girl, the maximum
prison sentence would have been one year and three months.
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