Last edited: December 31, 2004


Arkansas Sued to Repeal Sodomy Law


News From The Legal Front:

Well, it's done......the suit was filed yesterday by 7 plaintiffs files suit against the state of Arkansas to declare the sodomy law unconstitutional.

This has been planned for well over a year, with this latest initiative coming from Lambda Legal Defense & Education. Suzanne Goldberg, from Lambda has been the coordinator. The Women's Project, the Progressive Network, state PFLAG chapters and two local attorneys have also been involved.

The press conference was held in the Capitol Rotunda, attended by about 20 people. Unfortunately, due to several call-ins, I was not one of them. According to Suzanne Goldberg, Arkansas is only one of six states with sodomy laws which target only homosexuals. There are 14 states forbidding both homosexuals and heterosexuals from engaging in private consensual oral and anal sex, while 30 other states have no sodomy laws at all.

She further stated that AR is using the sodomy law to as a basis to deny child custody to gay parents.

Of the 7 plaintiffs I know the 5 from Little Rock. The one you know is
Randy McCain....he and Gary stopped by Thanksgiving when you were here.
Besides the 5 from LR (or the LR area), there is one from Carroll County
and one from Fayetteville.

The AR state PFLAG representative, Carolyn Wagner, was there. Her son, William, is the one who was featured in many news articles and in the Advocate last year after being repeatedly beaten in high school. (He quit school, passed the ged, and is currently attending college.)

The media coverage was poor...only one television station covered the press conference, as well as the local non-newspaper, The AR Democrat-Gazette.

The suit defendents are Atty General Winston Bryant and Pulaski County Prosecuting Atty Larry Jegley - neither of whom seem to be in the least bit interested in the suit. Both stated they were not aware that the law has ever been enforced, therefore why bother taking up their time trying to dissolve it......?

Along with Lambda Legal, it is my understanding that the local attorneys will continue to provide legal counsel for all the plaintiffs, regardless of the time involved. There are varying opinion about the time the whole process will take. Some people feel it will be wuick and easy, others feel it will be long and drawn out - moving form one court to the next over a course of years.

Lambda was seeking volunteers for the plaintiffs who could base the suit on their:

  • fear of losing their job
  • fear of being evicted from their home
  • fear of losing their children

One plaintiff has already lost a job based soley on the fact he is gay, another is an out teacher with the local public schools, 2 are counselors, another is a teacher- not so out until yesterday, and I am not sure of the others' occupations.

Each PFLAG chapter in which the plaintiffs reside have volunteered to "adopt" the plaintiff, of plaintiffs, residing in their area. We have adopted 5, although Randy has been a member for about 3-4 years. They will all be honorary members throughout the entire process. We will make special efforts to check on them and thier families, be available for extra support whenever necessary or desired. I am also hoping to convince some supportive businesses to recognize the importance of what each individual has contributed to society. I realize it isn't much, but I will be approaching restaurant owners, book store owners, etc to request a certificate for a free meal, a free book, a free massage, etc.......something which will come in handy during the more stressful periods.

I think I've about covered it...for now. <G>

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