Louisiana Upholds Sodomy Law
Associated Press, July 7, 2000
NEW ORLEANS Louisianas Supreme Court has upheld the
states 195-year-old sodomy law, under which consenting adults could receive up to
five years in prison for engaging in oral or anal sex.
"Simply put, commission of what the Legislature determines as an immoral act, even
if consensual and private, is an injury against society itself," Justice Chet Traylor
wrote in Thursdays 5-2 decision.
In their dissent, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero Jr. and Justice Harry Lemmon said the
law represents an intrusion of government into citizens homes.
"The only apparent purpose of the prohibition is to dictate the type of sex that
is acceptable to legislators," Lemmon wrote. "Two married persons should be able
to choose how they conduct their nonpublic, voluntary sexual relations in the security of
their own home; a law that takes that choice away from them is an intrusion by the
legislative branch that is constitutionally intolerable."
The ruling did not affect a pending civil lawsuit, filed by gay-rights advocates,
challenging the sodomy law on different issues.
A state judge had thrown out the law in March, saying it unconstitutionally
criminalizes private sexual behavior by adults. A month earlier, the state 4th Circuit
Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of a man who had oral sex with a woman. The
appeals court said the law violated privacy rights.
The Supreme Court reinstated the mans conviction for a crime against nature and
his suspended three-year jail sentence.
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