Last edited: June 10, 2004

Kansas Court to Hear Appeal Gay Teen’s Case

Windy City Times, June 2, 2004

The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to consider the American Civil Liberties Union’s appeal on behalf of a gay teenager who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for consensual oral sex, the ACLU said last week.

Matthew Limon has already been in prison for four years and three months—three and a half times longer than the maximum sentence he would have received if he were straight.

In February of 2000, Limon and another male teen were both students at the same co-ed residential school for developmentally disabled youth in Miami County, Kan.

A week after Limon’s 18th birthday, he performed consensual oral sex on the other teen, who was nearly 15—three years, one month and a few days younger than Limon.

Limon was convicted under Kansas’s “Romeo and Juliet” law, which gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers who have sex with younger teens, but specifically excludes gay teenagers.

This is the second time that his case has been sent to the Kansas Supreme Court for review. The first time, in July of 2002, the court refused to consider Limon’s case and the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it. The High Court sent the case back to a Kansas appeals court, ordering it to reconsider in light of its decision last summer in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down same-sex-only sodomy laws.

In January, the appeals court again upheld Limon’s conviction. The earliest that the Kansas Supreme Court is likely to hear arguments in the case will be in August.

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