Last edited: February 14, 2005


Column: Georgia's Unnatural Acts of Lawmaking

A State Court Overturns An Anti-Sodomy Law, And The Politicians Run For Cover

Greensboro News & Record, November 30, 1998
P. O. Box 20848, Greensboro, NC 27420
Fax 336-373-7067

By Dusty Nix, Knight Ridder [Nix writes for the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Ga.]

If the Georgia Supreme Court's overdue overturning of a constitutionally laughable "sodomy law'' proves anything, it is that some of those who call themselves conservatives have not yet come to comfortable terms with government's appropriate, er, position.

Democrats, for the most part, went diving for deep water faster than a Chattahoochee backwater muskrat.

The governor-elect "has not yet had a chance to read the decision,'' according to a Roy Barnes spokesman.

House Majority Leader Larry Walker, D-Perry, was "not going to comment on it; I'm going to wait and read the decision.''

The decision consists of five short paragraphs, the lone dissent four. "War and Peace'' or the Starr Report it ain't.

Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Taylor of Albany said, "I think there needs to be a law of some sort on the books ... it's an issue the Legislature would rather not deal with. But we don't have that option.''

If Georgia's 21st century leadership team was trying to give the impression that it's scared to death of being labeled "soft on sin'' by some Bible-pounding Cobb County gasbag, it could hardly have done a better job.

Meanwhile, Republican Eric Johnson of Savannah, the House minority leader, was quick to define this as "a conservative-liberal issue, and conservatives will be fighting to try and put the old ban back into law if at all possible.''

Democrats haven't had a fatter pitch to swing at since Quayle compared himself to Kennedy, and they're hitting the deck as if it were a 98-mph beanball.

Hello? Earth to Atlanta?

If Republicans want to define as "conservative'' a statute that, among other things, criminalizes intimate acts between a husband and wife in their own home, isn't that a briar patch Democrats should have loved being thrown into?

They could, for instance, have said something like this:

"It seems ... most limited-government conservatives would be reluctant to pass legislation that intrudes into the privacy of the bedrooms of consenting adults.''

They could have, but they didn't.

That astute assessment of bedroom legislation was from a Republican -- Clay Land of Columbus, who as of Wednesday afternoon had managed to flank pretty much the entire Georgia Democratic Party on the side of both common sense and constitutional integrity.

Whether his argument will fly with the Clint Day wing of his party is another matter.

But in the unlikely event that the political Sex Police manage to force this doggy of a law back into the books as a constitutional amendment, here's a modest proposal:

Enforce it.

Strictly and universally, and not just on gays.

If state authorities hear of non-government-approved activities going on behind drawn curtains, break down the bedroom door and haul Mommy and Daddy off to prison, where they'll learn -- well, that's another story.

We could take a few pages from our wildly successful and constitutionally pristine War on Drugs and wage a War on Sodomy, with random testing and workplace informants and kids who turn in their parents and get rewarded with "Say No to Sodomy'' badges.

We could have a cartoon character -- McGross, the Sodomy Dog -- give kids lessons on the Do's and Don'ts of constitutionally correct bedroom protocol.

In Georgia sex law, anything goes.

Except, of course, sex.

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