Sodomy Law Struck Down in Minnesota
May 25, 2001
By Rhonda Smith
MINNEAPOLISMinnesota District Court Judge Delila
Pierce struck down that states sodomy law last Friday, ruling that it violates
the right to privacy guaranteed by Minnesotas constitution.
The American Civil Liberties Unions Lesbian & Gay Rights Project filed
a lawsuit challenging the states sodomy statute, along with the ACLUs
"This is a tremendous victory because of what [sodomy laws] say,"
said Matt Coles, director of the ACLUs Lesbian & Gay Rights Project in
New York City. "A societys laws are its core statement of right and
wrong. Sodomy laws, because they are understood to primarily apply to lesbians
and gay men, marginalize gay people and their pursuit of equal
The ACLU has asked the court to technically certify the case, Doe et al.
v. Jesse Ventura et al., as a class-action so that it would leave
"absolutely no question" that the law cannot be enforced statewide.
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Venturas administration could file legal papers
opposing efforts to certify the case. But he is not expected to do so.
John Wodele, a spokesperson for Ventura, told the Associated Press this
week: "Its consistent with the governors philosophy that there are some
things the government has no business making laws about."
ACLU officials said 15 states now have laws prohibiting oral and anal sex
between consenting adults: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
Arizona Gov. Jane Hull signed a law in early May repealing that states
sodomy statute. A state court in Arkansas ruled in March that the sodomy law
there was unconstitutional. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court is reviewing the
ACLUs challenge to its sodomy law.
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