Texas Lawman Suspended Over Gay Kiss
The Associated Press,
December 11, 2004
Austin, Texas—A Texas Department
of Public Safety trooper has been placed on probation for telling two gay men
who were kissing at the state Capitol that “homosexual conduct” was
illegal in Texas.
Trooper Michael Carlson was placed on job probation for
six months and given a written reprimand, DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said
Friday. Carlson, who has been a DPS trooper for three years, also has been
ordered to have more training on Texas laws.
Texas law does not prohibit gays from kissing. Also, the
U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state’s anti-sodomy law in June 2003.
“I’m very pleased,” said John Corvino, a former
University of Texas at Austin graduate student who was one of the men
involved. “As someone charged with enforcing the law, he ought to be better
Corvino, who now teaches at Wayne State University in
Detroit, said in a complaint filed with DPS shortly after the Sept. 16
incident the trooper approached him and his male companion while they sat a
The men responded that they were “just hanging out”
when Carlson asked what they were doing, the complaint said. Corvino said he
tried to tell Carlson that they were not breaking the law, but he said the
trooper told them again that “homosexual conduct is against the law.”
“We won’t have you doing this on Capitol grounds,”
Carlson told the men, according to the complaint.
Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay
Rights Lobby of Texas, said he has followed the case since learning about it
several months ago.
The DPS “made sure they didn’t ignore this issue,”
he said. “I’m very satisfied with the outcome.”
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