Minnesota Judge Says Sodomy Ruling Applies to Every Adult in State
Three States in 2001 Have Now Upheld the Right to Privacy
National Gay And Lesbian
Task Force, July 2, 2001
1700 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC
Contact: David Elliot, Communications Director
202-332-6483 ext. 3303
A state district judge in Minnesota today ruled that a recent decision
striking down the states sodomy law applies to every adult.
The decision means that Minnesota is the third state this year to move away
from antiquated laws that have been used against the gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender (GLBT) community. In April, an Arkansas circuit court judge
found that the states ban on consensual sex between adult, same-sex couples
is a violation of the states constitution. And in May, Arizona Gov. Jane
Hall signed a bill repealing that states sodomy laws.
Mondays ruling in Minnesota came in response to a lawsuit filed by the
American Civil Liberties Union. In May of this year, State District Court
Judge Delila F. Pierce initially ruled that the sodomy law is
unconstitutional. After that ruling, the ACLU asked the judge to certify her
ruling as a class action so that there would be no question that it would
apply to every adult. Today, the judge granted the ACLUs request.
"For centuries, sodomy laws have been used as a weapon against the
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, sometimes with very tragic
results," said NGLTF Executive Director Lorri L. Jean. "We commend
those who have bravely fought to overturn this law, both at the legislative
level and in the courts. Minnesota was the first state in the U.S. to pass a
sexual orientation civil rights law that included gender identity. Now it is
the latest state to reject an antiquated law that compromises our right to
Four states Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri have sodomy laws
that single out same-sex relationships, although Missouris law has been
struck down by a lower court. 11 other states have sodomy laws that outlaw
some forms of both heterosexual and homosexual activity.
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