Attorney General Will Not Appeal Sodomy Ruling
Tribune, September 1, 2001
425 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Associated Press Statewire
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Attorney Generals
Office will not appeal a district judges ruling that every adult in
Minnesota is covered under her recent decision that the states sodomy law
The deadline to appeal was Friday.
"Because of the non-appeal, its over," said Chuck Samuelson,
executive director of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, which helped start
the lawsuit challenging the states sodomy law.
Hennepin County District Judge Delila Pierce ruled in May that the states
ban on oral sex and other intimacy between consenting adults violated privacy
rights under the Minnesota Constitution.
Alan Gilbert, chief deputy attorney general, said they consulted with Gov.
Jesse Venturas office and decided an appeal would be "lacking in
"We just think that the legal principles of the court are soundly
based," Gilbert said.
Critics say Attorney General Mike Hatch was failing to do his public duty
by not appealing.
"When the laws of the state are being attacked, he should defend them,
and he should defend them to the end," said attorney Greg Wersal, who
helped lead an unsuccessful bid to recall Hatch on claims his defense of the
sodomy law was inadequate.
The plaintiffs in the case were a broad group of gay and straight
Minnesotans whose jobs, homes or relationships with their children were
threatened by the sodomy law, MnCLU officials said.
In July, Pierce certified her ruling as a class action so there would be no
doubt that it applied throughout the state.
However, Jordan Lorence, who said he was acting as attorney for the
Minnesota Family Council, said the class-action status will not necessarily
keep city and county attorneys from prosecuting sodomy cases.
"I dont think theyve knocked the law off the books the way theyve
intended to do," he said.
Minneapolis attorney Timothy Branson, who represented the eight people who
challenged the law, agreed that local prosecutors are not barred from bringing
sodomy cases. But he said the Hennepin County ruling will give defendants
"more than a 90 percent chance" of prevailing.
[Home] [News] [Minnesota]