Bills Challenge Antigay Michigan Laws
Advocate, May 7, 2003
A Michigan lawmaker announced new legislation on Monday
that would repeal the state’s Gross Indecency Law, which among other
prohibitions bars people of the same gender from having sex. State
representative Steve Tobocman (D-Detroit) introduced the legislation as well
as other bills that would repeal laws prohibiting cursing, blasphemy, and
cohabitation. Sean Kosofsky, policy director for the Detroit-based gay rights
group Triangle Foundation, said dozens of men are arrested each year for
Gross indecency statutes classify certain adult
consensual noncommercial sex as a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in
prison. Kosofsky said that while most people charged under the law don’t
typically serve jail time, they pay high fees and are on the state’s
sex-offender registry. “Most people believe these laws are silly and that
Michigan looks silly for maintaining them,” Kosofsky said.
The bills have been referred to the house criminal
justice committee. Rep. William Van Regenmorter, a Republican from Ottawa
County’s Georgetown Township, is chairman of the criminal justice committee.
He didn’t return a call seeking comment about whether the committee would
take up the bills.
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