Letter: Equal Under The Law
Topeka Capital Journal, November 16, 1998
616 SE Jefferson Street, Topeka, KS 66607
In the past decade, individuals in six states have challenged their state laws that
criminalize certain sexual acts only when engaged in by homosexuals (the exact same acts
are legal when engaged in by heterosexuals). Of those six states, the law has been upheld
in only one: Kansas. Courts in all five other states have determined that it is
unconstitutional to criminalize activities for certain groups but not others. Only Kansas
judges say it is legal to single out gays and lesbians for prosecution under these laws.
The most recent state to hand down a decision is Maryland, where the court determined
Oct. 16 that the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution would be violated
"if acts, considered not criminal when committed by a heterosexual couple, could be
prosecuted when practiced by a homosexual couple." That is opposite the conclusion
handed down last April by a three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals. That ruling,
by Kansas Justices Patrick Brazil, Henry Green and Keith Anderson, was upheld this past
July when the Kansas Supreme Court refused to even hear the case on final appeal.
What is so different about Kansas that makes its judges think that gays should be
treated differently from those in other states?
-- Mark E. Ent, Topeka
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