Last edited: October 26, 2003

Kansas Attorney General Defends Same-Sex Sodomy Law

The Advocate, September 17, 2003

Kansas attorney general Phill Kline said Monday that he is concerned that if a sodomy case before an appeals court goes against the state, the Kansas marriage law and laws forbidding sex with children would be nullified. Kline is representing the state in the case of Matthew Limon, who is appealing his sentence of more than 17 years under the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law. Kansas law makes sex with a child under 16 illegal, no matter what the context. The “Romeo and Juliet” statute lessens the penalties when the partners are four years or fewer apart in age—though the statute specifically excludes same-sex couples. In 2000 Limon was sentenced to 17 years and two months in prison for having sex with a boy who was under 15; Limon was 18 at the time. Both were residents of the Lakemary Center, a school for developmentally disabled young people in Paola, Kan. Had Limon or the other boy been female, the maximum sentence would have been one year and three months, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took up Limon’s case.

During a news conference Monday, Kline said the ACLU’s argument is so broad that if it prevails, the traditional state definition of marriage between a man and a woman would be struck down, as would age-of-consent laws. Kline planned to file his response to ACLU arguments Monday. The case is before the Kansas court of appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court returned it to that court in June. The nation’s highest court took the action without commenting, other than to note its ruling in a Texas case.

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