Last edited: January 03, 2005


New Orleans DA: Change Louisiana Sodomy Laws

Associated Press, February 27, 2003

By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer

This city’s new district attorney said he would support efforts repeal laws making oral or anal sex illegal in Louisiana.

“If the Legislature is willing to reconsider, I will testify that private, non-commercial acts of sodomy between consenting adults are not a public matter and therefore should not be a violation of the law,” Eddie Jordan said Thursday in a news release.

Under crimes against nature laws, anal or oral sex is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and $2,000 in fines.

Gay and lesbian groups have unsuccessfully lobbied the Legislature to overhaul the law and failed to get the 197-year old statute overturned in the courts. They say it criminalizes their sex lives and has been used to target homosexuals for arrest. They also have noted that it covers sex acts between consenting heterosexual adults.

The law should only apply to prostitution and non-consenting or public sexual acts, Jordan said. “The state has a legitimate public interest in holding accountable all persons who are guilty of these kinds of despicable criminal acts,” the district attorney said.

Jordan, 50, took over from longtime former District Attorney Harry Connick in January. He is a former U.S. Attorney best known for prosecuting former Gov. Edwards for racketeering and fraud in a riverboat casino licensing case. Edwards is serving a 10-year sentence.

Some gay and lesbian activists praised Jordan for taking a stance on sodomy laws.

“He is the first in this state to come out publicly advocating for reform of an outdated law,” said Christopher Daigle, chairman of the Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus.

Daigle said Jordan was fulfilling a campaign promise. He added that Jordan appears more willing than Connick was to work on changing the law.

“Harry Connick toyed with it, but never did anything substantial,” Daigle said. “Connick convened a task force six years ago that was part of a political promise. The task force was convened once and never again.”

But not all activists gave Jordan high marks.

“I applaud him for that, but it’s a faint applaud because he should have said that when he was running,” said John D. Rawls, a lawyer for the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians Inc., a group which has sought to get the law overturned in the courts.

Rawls criticized Jordan for wanting to maintain the law intact in regards to prostitutes and sexual acts in public.

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