Minnesota Battling Courts Sodomy Law Ruling
June 5, 2001
MINNEAPOLIS, MN The American Civil Liberties
Union is blasting as "callous and absurd" a move by lawyers
representing the state of Minnesota to limit the overturning of the states
sodomy law to the seven plaintiffs who named in the lawsuit. State District
Court Judge Delila F. Pierce struck down the sodomy law in late May. The ACLU,
which brought the lawsuit, requested that the case be technically certified as
a class action applicable to all Minnesotans. Quite unexpectedly, the state
decided to stand in opposition to the motion, long considered little more than
a legal formality.
The office of Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura released a statement last
month agreeing with the decision reached by the court. "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 days later, the Ventura administration filed papers seeking to limit
the rulings impact to the individuals named in the original suit.
"The sodomy law has been declared unconstitutional and the state
has no good reason to say that it should be unconstitutional for some people,
but not everyone," said Matt Coles of the ACLUs Lesbian & Gay
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 lawsuit 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
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