Louisiana Upholds Ban on Oral and Anal Sex
Reuters, July 7, 2000
NEW ORLEANS Louisianas Supreme Court has upheld a
two-century-old law that makes oral and anal sex between consenting adults punishable by
up to five years in jail.
In a 5-2 ruling on Thursday the court rejected the argument that the law violated the
constitutional right of privacy.
"Any claim that private sexual conduct between consenting adults is
constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable," Justice Chet
Traylor wrote for the majority.
In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero argued that the "sweeping
nature" of the statute was an invasion of constitutionally protected personal
"I am of the opinion that the government has no legitimate interest or compelling
reasons for regulating, through criminal statutes, adult, private, non-commercial,
consensual acts of sexual intimacy," he wrote.
The Supreme Court was ruling in the case of Mitchell Smith, who was originally
acquitted on a charge of raping a woman but convicted of sodomy after testifying that they
had oral sex.
His conviction and a three-year suspended jail sentence were overturned on appeal but
were reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Louisiana is one of 12 U.S. states that still have sodomy laws applying to both
heterosexual and homosexual couples. Three more states have sodomy laws that apply only to
Sodomy has been prohibited in Louisiana since at least 1805 when it was a felony
carrying a mandatory life sentence under the laws of the Territory of Orleans.
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