Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Sodomy Law
The Associated Press,
January 19, 2005
By Janet Mcconnaughey
NEW ORLEANS—There’s nothing
unconstitutional in making solicitation for oral sex a felony even though
soliciting for sexual intercourse is a misdemeanor, the Louisiana Supreme
Court ruled Wednesday.
Without dissent, the court overturned a decision which
threw out charges against a Jefferson Parish prostitute accused of soliciting
a male undercover officer in 1995 for oral sex—or, as the law has it,
“unnatural oral copulation for compensation”.
The court has not yet ruled in another case from
Jefferson Parish, challenging parts of the law which make it criminal for
consenting adults to have oral or anal sex.
Both District Court decisions were based on the U.S.
Supreme Court’s decision in 2003 that threw out a Texas sodomy law.
District Judge Kernan Hand had thrown out charges against
Tina Thomas, saying the law is discriminatory and violates an adult
prostitute’s right to decide which sort of sex she will offer.
The U.S. Supreme court ruled that homosexuals’ right to
liberty “gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without
intervention of the government. The same rational must apply to all persons in
deciding their sexal activities and preferences providing the relationship
involves consenting adults.”
“It would be absurd to interpret” the U.S. Supreme
Court’s opinion as meaning solicitation for oral sex cannot be prosecuted
when the opinion specifically states that it does not affect laws against
prostitution, Justice John L. Weimer wrote.
Weimer noted that in the Texas case, police answered a
report of a weapons disturbance, went into an apartment and arrested the men
they found having sex there on a charge of “deviant sexual intercourse.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in that case was about
private lives, and stated specifically that “it does not involve public
conduct or prostitution,” he wrote, quoting the opinion.
Five other judges signed Weimer’s opinion.
In a separate opinion, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero said
he agreed that the Texas ruling did not deal with soliciting oral sex for
money. However, he said, he thinks it does indicate that the Louisiana law’s
five-year prison term may be unconstitutionally harsh. But Thomas didn’t
raise that issue, so the court could not consider it, he wrote.
The other lawsuit was filed in 1996 by the Louisiana
Electorate for Gays and Lesbians. State District Judge Robert Murphy forbade
parish prosecutors to pursue any cases involving consenting adults.
But Murphy left intact parts of the law forbidding human
sex with animals, solicitation for oral and anal sex and aggravated crimes
Murphy also declined to strike down a law giving the
state attorney general’s office power to prosecute organizations formed for
the purpose of organized homosexuality, prostitution, narcotics and other
activities spelled out in the law.
[Home] [News] [Louisiana]