Kansas Court Retries Gay Teen Sex Case
/ PlanetOut.com Network, December 2, 2003
By Ann Rostow
SUMMARY: The Kansas Court of Appeals heard arguments
Tuesday in the long-running case of Matthew Limon, a teen sentenced to 17
years in prison for having consensual oral sex with another youth.
Three judges of the Kansas Court of Appeals heard
arguments Tuesday in the long-running case of Matthew Limon, a young man
sentenced to 17 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with another
youth. Limon was just 18 years old when he received the draconian sentence for
violating the state sodomy law.
If Matthew had been caught fooling around with a
girlfriend, however, he would have been subject to a maximum of just 15 months
behind bars under the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law. That law limits
the penalties for underage sex between straight teenagers, which range from a
slap on the wrist to a short jail term.
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, at least
one of the judges found some of the state’s arguments “utterly
ridiculous.” In a brief filed last September, the Kansas attorney general
defended the discriminatory Romeo and Juliet statute based on a public
preference on behalf of relationships that could lead to marriage and
Further, the brief claimed that “sex between persons of
opposite sex poses fewer medical concerns (from a disease and pathology angle)
than does sex between humans and animals or sex between persons of the male
gender.” The state’s brief also made several inexplicable references to
According to the Capital-Journal, presiding Judge
G. Joseph Pierron Jr. implied that the state’s interest in promoting
marriage and conception would not pass muster as a justification for the
differing treatment of gay and straight miscreants. As for the “medical
concerns,” Pierron pointed out that venereal diseases are not the exclusive
domain of gay males.
“I’m just trying to come up with a reason,” Pierron
told Deputy Attorney General Jared Maag, “other than you don’t like
This is the second time that Limon has pled his case
before the Kansas Appellate Court. In February of 2002, the court rejected his
equal protection claim, and the Kansas Supreme Court declined to review the
matter. The ACLU then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the appeal,
but for months, the high court took no action in response to that request.
Finally, one day after issuing its strong gay rights opinion in Lawrence
v. Texas, the Supreme Court sent the Limon case back to the Kansas
Appellate Court for reconsideration in light of Lawrence.
The appellate court is expected to rule by February, the Capital-Journal
reported. That ruling could also be appealed once again to the state Supreme
Court, and theoretically, back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
[Home] [News] [Kansas]