Ventura Fights Sodomy Ruling
Newscenter, June 7, 2001
Minneapolis, MN.In a legal maneuver attorneys
for the state of Minnesota will argue in court today that a recent ruling that
said states prohibition on oral and anal sex is unconstitutional should not
apply to anyone other than the small handful of plaintiffs named in the
The American Civil Liberties Union calls the move "callous and
State District Court Judge Delila F. Pierce struck down the sodomy law late
last month. The ACLU, which brought the lawsuit challenging the sodomy
statute, had requested that the case be technically certified as a class
action, to make certain that a favorable ruling would apply to all
The state decided after the ruling to oppose this, and today judge Pierce
will hear arguments from the ACLU and state lawyers.
"This law invited the state into every bedroom in Minnesota,
criminalizing some of the most common forms of intimacy between adults,"
said Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU state affiliate in
Minnesota. "It is difficult to imagine a more blatant invasion of
Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, a defendant in the case along with the
attorney general and the state itself, agreed last month on the day the ruling
was released. "The judges action is consistent with the governors
principle that there are certain things the government should not have a role
in," Ventura spokesman John Wodele told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
But just days later, Venturas administration filed legal papers seeking
to limit the rulings impact.
"The sodomy law has been declared unconstitutionaland the state
has no good reason to say that it should be unconstitutional for some people,
but not everyone," said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian &
Gay Rights Project.
In court papers, the state argues that instead of certifying the case as a
class action, the court should force the ACLU to amend the initial law suit to
name all local law enforcement entities in the state as defendants.
"This is nonsense," said Coles, who has led court challenges to
sodomy laws in several states. "The issue here isnt who ought to be
sued but who ought to benefit from the courts ruling that the law is
Judge Pierces decision striking down the sodomy law noted that the
plaintiffs in the case "represent a cross section of Minnesotans impacted
by the sodomy statute." The plaintiffs are a half-dozen gay and straight
Minnesotans whose jobs, homes and relationships with their children are
threatened by the sodomy law.
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