Louisiana Upholds Sodomy Law, Rejects Employment Non-Discrimination Bill
May 24, 2001
BATON ROUGE, LA On Wednesday, the Louisiana
Senate voted down a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination based
on sexual orientation, the Associated Press reports. On Thursday, the House
narrowly defeated a measure that would legalize anal and oral sex between
consenting adults, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
The employment non-discrimination measure was sponsored by Don Cravins,
D-Arnaudville, who was determined to push for its passage despite any
political fallout that he might face as a result. "If this is the end of
a political career, then thats OK... Ive had some people tell me if youre
thinking of running for governor, and I am, then this is going to do you in.
So be it if thats the case," he said.
Cravins bill would have outlawed discrimination in hiring, firing or
promotion on the basis of "actual or perceived sexual orientation."
Cravins was told by some legislators that they believed in the principles
of the measure but felt that a yes vote would cost them political support. The
bill was defeated by a margin of 21-14. "When the day comes when I
believe something but I cant vote for it, thats the day I resign from
this body," he said. "If we fail today, well be back next
year," he added.
The following day the House came within six votes of passing a bill that
would overturn the states sodomy law. The bill was relatively simple,
stating "sexual acts committed by and between consenting adults in
private shall not be deemed as a crime against nature."
During the debate, Republican Tony Perkins passed around a letter by Parks
Superintendent Gene Young, who complained that overturning the law would make
it harder for him to stop gay sex in state parks. "Our concern is that ,
in its current form, [the bill] allows such activity in private, but
does not define private," said Young in the letter.
Rep. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said that people have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in a public restroom. "What youre concerned
about is whether you can watch it," quipped Richmond in reply.
Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, spoke in favor of the bill and decried that much
of the opposition was based on religious views. "A lot of you have told
me in private, Man, I cant vote for this bill those religious people
back home will kill me," he said. Martiny said that the law is not
about gay rights exclusively, noting that heterosexuals could be prosecuted
under the current statute.
At one time, all 50 states had a prohibition against some kinds of sexual
acts on the books. After Minnesota recently struck down its sodomy law, only
15 states still do.
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