Louisiana High Court Upholds Sodomy Ban
PlanetOut.com Network, March 29, 2002
By Jennifer Christensen
SUMMARY: Louisiana’s Supreme Court dealt a blow to gay rights on
Thursday by upholding the state’s 200-year-old ban on sodomy.
Louisiana’s Supreme Court dealt a blow to gay rights on Thursday by
upholding the state’s 200-year-old ban on sodomy.
Louisiana is one of 13 states with laws that prohibit sodomy between
Thursday’s ruling said the law does not violate the right to privacy as
spelled out by the state’s constitution.
"I didn’t realize the state’s constitution dictated what two
consenting adults can and cannot do in the privacy of their own bedroom,"
said Fe Myers, a steering committee member with the southern gay rights group
Kentucky Fairness Alliance. A Kentucky court overturned the state’s sodomy
law back in 1992.
"This ruling is just another reminder of the prejudice that exists in
the Southern states regarding sexual orientation," said Myers.
"The Supreme Court of Louisiana has said the government can go into
anyone’s bedroom, including married persons, and criminalize what they are
doing, even between consenting adults in private with no one watching and
nobody paying for anything," John Rawls, a plaintiff in the case, told
the Associated Press.
Rawls is also an attorney representing the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and
Lesbians Inc., which brought the civil suit.
Rawls noted the case applies to heterosexuals too, but the group did bring
a separate action against the law on grounds that it discriminated against
gays and lesbians. The Supreme Court refused to rule on that issue, so it
remains alive before the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in a separate
While there is a slight chance that the law could be overturned in the
lower court, Southern activists like Andrea Hildebran, executive director of
Kentucky Fairness Alliance, said this sets a bad tone for the rest of the
"I think it’s really too bad. States across the country, including
in the South, have ruled that individuals have a right to do what they want in
the privacy of their own homes," said Hildebran. "These laws are
dead letters, and this ruling is really out of step with the rest of the
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