Four File Suit to Overturn DC Sodomy Law
The Gay Blade,
District residents Richard Schaefers, Charles Hall, Warren Colision, and
Tery Leigh have filed suit against D.C. police for allegedly using the local
sodomy law to harass homosexuals.
The ACLU is taking the case. Its legal director said that the law is
"an ominous threat
a constant invasion of privacy." As now
existing, it forbids "unnatural and perverted sexual practices" and
carries a fine of $1,000 or 10 years in jail.
The four, one of whom is employed by the government, ask for a court
declaration that "consensual sexual conduct in the privacy of their
homes" is not illegal.
Background on the article
I created that case from volunteers whom I requested, in GLF [Gay
Liberation Front]. I chose not to be one of the plaintiffs myself, because I
didnt want to monopolize activism, but to let others play a role.
As I recall it, the case was not exactly as cited. We filed affidavits from
each of the four, attesting to their engaging in criminal sodomy, and
demanding prosecution, in order to create a test case.
The case drove the government attorneys crazy. The DC Corporation Counsel
attorney had a nervous breakdown because, apparently, he sympathized with
getting rid of the sodomy law, but duty called him in the opposite direction.
The case was ultimately settled by an order or agreement exempting the four
plaintiffs from the DC sodomy law, but no one else. I wrote to the US Attorney
asking whether that meant that the four could engage in sodomy only with each
other, or each with anyone, and if the latter, what was the criminal status of
the non-four partner. I never received a reply.
Frank Kameny, May 23, 2001
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