Drum Magazine, September 1965
Janus Society of America
34 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
We hear a great deal of meaningless chatter about what can be done to
effect changes in sodomy laws throughout America. There is a notion that these
changes can somehow come about through picketing, negotiations, letter
writing, "information" programs, church councils, ad infinitum.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The sentiment is expressed that
support of informed citizens must be incorporated to add weight to the
movement. It is suspected that enough of this Doctor and Lawyer
Window-dressing will bend recalcitrant Legislatures to a point of reason.
Nothing, again, could be further from the truth.
To date, all efforts of the homophile movement and others concerned with
sex law reform have been virtually without meaning to Legislatures and there
is no reason to suspect that this state will change in the future, near or
The failure of previous methods has not been a lack of good intentioned
leaders or in selecting high quality window dressing, but in setting an
impossible goal in an unreasonable fashion. Few elected legislators are
willing to risk a brand as one who advocates perversion or, as a member of the
British House of Lords just put it, approving "the Devil's work."
Further, there is no reason to assume that these bodies could ever be in
sympathy with the cause and the Roman Catholic Church has made it clear that
it intends to do everything in its vast power to prevent liberal revision.
It must be understood that law reform will not be effectuated through the
State Legislatures. Those who doubt the validity of this position need look no
further than the re- cent actions in New York and North Carolina.
Our position, however, is far from laissez faire. We see the
solution within the Federal Court system, with the Supreme Court as the final
voice. The Connecticut birth control decision points the way--invasion of
privacy. Clear appreciation of the value of Church-State separation is
Many diverse factors determine which cases lend themselves to this kind of
battle, but the Janus Society of America is ready to provide financial and
legal support to individuals in any State whose cases can help establish these
(By coincidence, the Court of Appeals released its decision in Scott v.
Macy as we were going to press. A careful study of this landmark appears on
—Clark P. Polak
Drum Magazine was magazine of the Janus Society of America, a
Philadelphia homophile organization. In 1965, only Illinois had repealed its
sodomy law. The next states to repeal their laws were Connecticut and Idaho as
part of broad criminal code revisions. Idaho reinstated their law as soon as
the Advocate announced the repeal of the sodomy law. 20 additional
states repealed their laws before the first state courts—Pennsylvania and
New York—struck down their laws in 1980.
The primary repeal strategy at the turn of the century is to bring cases to
state courts to rule the laws unconstitutional.
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