Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Sodomy Law
Culture and Family
Institute, April 3, 2002
an affiliate of Concerned Women for America
1015 Fifteenth St. N.W., Suite 1102, Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 289-7117, Fax: (202) 488-0806
By Martha W. Kleder
Louisiana’s Supreme Court has upheld the state’s sodomy law, now in
place for nearly 200 years. The law bans oral and anal sex.
Homosexual activists had challenged the law in a civil case, saying it was
a violation of privacy rights in the Louisiana Constitution. The state’s
highest court disagreed.
"This court squarely rejected the assertion that the privacy clause of
the Louisiana Constitution protects oral and anal sex," said the March 28
opinion by a six-judge panel.
Eleven other challenges to the sodomy law remain alive, however. They
include charges of arbitrary enforcement, discrimination against homosexual
men and women, and that the law is an endorsement of the religious belief that
homosexuality is a sin. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear those
John Rawls, attorney for the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians,
Inc., the plaintiff in the case, condemned the ruling and threatened a boycott
of the state by homosexuals.
"This ruling is a financial disaster for the tourism industry of
Louisiana," he told The Advocate of Baton Rouge.
State Representative Tony Perkins (R), who has led the legislative fight to
maintain the state’s "Crimes Against Nature" law, said it is not
aimed at invading the privacy of the bedroom.
"It’s a matter of keeping perversion out of the public restrooms and
public places," Rep. Perkins told The Advocate. He added that laws
banning sex in public places aren’t enough in most cases.
"Then it comes down to the definition of sex. It becomes a very
slippery slope—when you look at the overall picture, when we begin to
legitimize certain behaviors," he said.
"The Legislature has continually upheld this statute; the provision
has been on the law books for 200 years in Louisiana," he said. "I
think it’s appropriate that the court recognize that the Legislature has a
right to do that."
This case, which still must be considered in the 4th Circuit, has been
underway for 10 years. During that period, courts in Tennessee, Montana,
Maryland, Minnesota, and Georgia overturned their states’ sodomy laws. The
legislatures of Nevada and Rhode Island have reversed their state’s bans as
This action by Louisiana leaves alive one of 11 state bans on opposite- and
same-sex sodomy. Five states ban homosexual sodomy only.
States banning only homosexual sodomy are: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
Kansas and Missouri.
Joining Louisiana in banning all forms of sodomy are: Idaho, Utah,
Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,
Michigan and Massachusetts.
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