Court: Sodomy Law Unconstitutional
Associated Press, March 17, 1999
By Kevin McGill
NEW ORLEANSLouisiana's sodomy law was thrown out Wednesday
by a state judge who said the statute unconstitutionally criminalizes private sexual
behavior by adults.
"The state has presented no evidence, much less the required compelling state
interest, to justify its intrusion on plaintiffs' constitutionally protected right of
privacy,'' Judge Carolyn Gill-Jefferson wrote.
The law makes consensual oral and anal sex a felony punishable by five years in prison.
The ruling was the second victory for opponents of the sodomy law. In February, the
state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of a man found guilty of having
oral sex with a woman. The appeal court said the law violated privacy rights.
John Rawls, attorney for the gay men and women who challenged the law, predicted the
decision, made public Wednesday, will be appealed and upheld by the state Supreme Court.
The opinion applies to 63 parishes. A separate case governs Jefferson Parish in
suburban New Orleans, where a judge has granted a temporary order suspending enforcement
of the law while the case is heard.
Because it is a civil case dealing directly with a constitutional issue,
Gill-Jefferson's case would go directly to the Supreme Court if the state challenges it.
The 4th Circuit ruling is pending before the high court.
[Home] [News] [Louisiana]