Louisiana Court To Hear Sodomy Law Case
Associated Press, January 8, 2001
By Janet McConnaughey
NEW ORLEANS Gay rights activists are seeking to overturn
Louisianas 196-year-old law barring sodomy, maintaining that it unfairly targets
gays and lesbians.
In 1999, Judge Carolyn Gill-Jefferson upheld the law, ruling that it violates
Louisianas right to privacy but does not violate other rights protected by the state
An appeal was filed by the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians Inc., and nine gay
or lesbian individuals, on grounds that the law "denies us the right to have sex
under any circumstances," said John D. Rawls, LEGALs attorney.
State attorneys, however, contend the law is needed to promote marriage and encourage
Arguments are scheduled Monday before the states 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.
The case affects 63 of Louisianas 64 parishes. A separate case in Jefferson
Parish, just outside New Orleans, has been put on hold until rulings in Mondays case
If LEGAL loses, the case cannot be appealed to federal court, Rawls said.
"We have not raised any federal issues in this case," he said. "It is
based entirely on the broad human rights that the people of Louisiana have preserved for
ourselves in the state Constitution."
Also, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 1985 that the U.S. Constitution does not
provide a right to privacy to gays and lesbians, he said.
Mondays appeal does not concern the right to privacy. Instead, it deals with the
rest of Gill-Jeffersons findings. But the privacy issue remains under review.
In July, the state Supreme Court ruled in another case that the right of privacy did
not extend to oral or anal sex in a motel room between consenting heterosexual adults.
The court reasoned that if consenting adults have such sex, both are guilty and there
is no victim.
Three months later, the court ordered Gill-Jefferson to reconsider her decision that
the law violates privacy rights, and the judge has scheduled arguments on that issue March
4th Circuit Court of Appeal: http://4thcir-app.state.la.us/
Louisiana Supreme Court: http://www.lasc.org/
[Home] [News] [Louisiana]