Gay Rights Activist to Speak Here
Recent Shootings and Virginias Sodomy Laws Discussed
November 15, 2000
P.O. Box 2491, Roanoke, VA, 24010
By Mike Hudson, The Roanoke Times
Franklin Kameny, known nationally as the father of militant gay activism, will be in
Roanoke Thursday to speak about the gay rights movements history and future.
Kameny, who is based in Washington, D.C., gained attention last year in Roanoke by
writing a letter soliciting private acts of sodomy with top city law enforcement officials
-- a gesture he said was aimed at making people think about the absurdity of how
Virginias anti-sodomy laws are enforced.
He will speak to an open meeting of the Roanoke Valley chapter of Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays. His talk will be at 7 p.m. at the Williamson Road Church of the
Brethren, 3110 Pioneer Road N.W.
Kameny, 75, founded Washingtons gay rights movement in the 1960s and was a
driving force behind repeal of the citys sodomy laws.
He said gays and lesbians across the nation have made huge strides over the past 10
years. "Gays are able to come out in ways that just would have been unthinkable
For example, he said large employers that offered benefits to domestic partners were a
rarity at the beginning of the 1990s, but theyre common now.
Kameny said he will talk Thursday about the Sept. 22 shootings at Roanokes
Backstreet Cafe, which police have labeled an anti-gay hate crime.
He said he will also talk about Roanoke authorities prosecution of gay men snared
in an undercover police sting in a city park. Ten gay men convicted of soliciting sodomy
have taken their cases to the Virginia Court of Appeals, arguing that the states
sodomy laws are an unconstitutional invasion of the privacy rights of all adults who
engage in oral sex.
Virginias sodomy law classifies oral sex as a felony punishable by up to five
years in prison. Kameny argues that the law "makes habitual, recidivist, repetitive
felons of almost the entire adult population of the state of Virginia."
Mike Hudson can be reached at 981-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As a somewhat humorous note, after the tv news segment mentioned above was aired, the
pastor of the somewhat conservative church cited above as the site of the PFLAG meeting
disinvited PFLAG (presumably because of my allusions to sodomy), who then had to scurry
around and find another
location (a Unitarian Church) and inform people of the change. Efforts are under way to
Frank Kameny, FEKameny@webtv.net
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