Last edited: February 14, 2005

Arkansas Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit Challenging Gay Sodomy Law

The Commercial Appeal, June 24, 1998
P. O. Box 334
Memphis, TN 38101
Fax 901-529-6445

The Associated Press

Chancellor Collins Kilgore refused Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging an Arkansas law barring homosexual sex.

The state attorney general's office had asked that the lawsuit be dismissed and Kilgore conducted a hearing in the case last month.

The suit was filed by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund of New York. The organization said that the sodomy law created a second-class status for homosexuals. The state said the law doesn't need to be struck from the books because it isn't being enforced.

The law outlaws homosexual sex and carries maximum penalties of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"We are pleased with the ruling because the court recommended that the plaintiffs should have their day in court to challenge the harm they suffer under this unconstitutional law," Suzanne B. Goldberg, Lambda attorney, said.

The state's motion to dismiss was filed in February. There is no controversy to justify the lawsuit, the attorney general's office said.

Kilgore said Arkansas case law does not directly answer the question raised by the state. But he cited a Supreme Court decision that said a licensed fisherman had standing to challenge a regulation limiting the size of fish that could be taken from Lake Maumelle because the regulation would have affected his rights.

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