Last edited: January 02, 2005

Civil Rights Groups Rally in Kansas

Datalounge, February 19, 2003

TOPEKA, Ks.—About 130 people, self-proclaimed “sexual outlaws,” rallied on the steps of the Kansas capitol building on Saturday against a state law that criminalizes sexual relations between people of the same sex.

We can’t come up with any other explanation except for bigotry,” said Christine Robinson, protest organizer and a sociologist at Kansas University.

Organizers told the The Topeka Capital-Journal that the rally was organized to demonstrate broad public support for the repeal of antiquated morals laws, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules next month in a sweeping challenge to state sodomy laws. Two men from Texas are appealing their 1998 convictions under a Texas sodomy statute, claiming it unfairly targets gay people. If the Supreme Court rules the Texas law to be unconstitutional, the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma statutes would likewise be invalidated.

Steve Brown of the Kansas Democratic Party LGBT Caucus told the Capital-Journal he doubted the state legislature in Kansas would act to repeal the law on its own.

“Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule in our favor and we won’t have to deal with legislators,” said Brown. “This is Kansas. I have lots of faith in the Democratic Party, but this is Kansas.”

Robinson asked protesters to write Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and ask that she commute the sentence of Matthew Limon, who is serving 17 years and two months in prison for having sex as an 18-year-old with an underage boy in February.

Robinson pointed out that, under the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law, had either Limon or the other boy been a girl, the maximum prison sentence would have been one year and three months.

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