Man Admits "Crimes Against Nature"
March 14, 2001
By Barbara Dozetos
SUMMARY: In what civil libertarians say is a pattern, a state sodomy law
is once again being used to "pass judgment" on homosexuality.
A Louisiana man pleaded guilty this week to a felony "crime against
nature" for engaging in homosexual acts in a public place while on a work
detail from a Bossier Parish jail.
William Wright and two other inmates were charged when elementary school
students and teachers saw them engaged in sexual activity near their school
last October. The prisoners were cleaning up the grounds of a nearby church.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors dropped a lesser charge of
obscenity in exchange for Williamss guilty plea and his testimony against
the other two inmates. He faces up to an additional five years in prison for
the crime, but his cooperation may be taken into account when he is sentenced.
"As shocking as it may sound, this [crime against nature charge] isnt
unusual," said Eric Ferrero, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties
Unions Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights Project. Sodomy laws are still on the
books in roughly a dozen Southern states, as well as a handful of others
around the country. Contrary to the widely held belief that they exist in name
only, "[these laws] are used to deny lesbians and gay men jobs and
custody of their children," Ferrero said.
"We also hear plenty of stories like this one, where sodomy laws are
essentially used to pass judgment on peoples sexuality," Ferrero said.
"If men have sex in a public, they should be charged with having sex in
public not with having gay sex."
The Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians is currently challenging the
constitutionality of the sodomy law in state court.
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