Last edited: January 23, 2005


Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Sodomy Law

The Associated Press, January 19, 2005

By Janet Mcconnaughey

NEW ORLEANS—There’s nothing unconstitutional in making solicitation for oral sex a felony even though soliciting for sexual intercourse is a misdemeanor, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Without dissent, the court overturned a decision which threw out charges against a Jefferson Parish prostitute accused of soliciting a male undercover officer in 1995 for oral sex—or, as the law has it, “unnatural oral copulation for compensation”.

The court has not yet ruled in another case from Jefferson Parish, challenging parts of the law which make it criminal for consenting adults to have oral or anal sex.

Both District Court decisions were based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2003 that threw out a Texas sodomy law.

District Judge Kernan Hand had thrown out charges against Tina Thomas, saying the law is discriminatory and violates an adult prostitute’s right to decide which sort of sex she will offer.

The U.S. Supreme court ruled that homosexuals’ right to liberty “gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. The same rational must apply to all persons in deciding their sexal activities and preferences providing the relationship involves consenting adults.”

“It would be absurd to interpret” the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion as meaning solicitation for oral sex cannot be prosecuted when the opinion specifically states that it does not affect laws against prostitution, Justice John L. Weimer wrote.

Weimer noted that in the Texas case, police answered a report of a weapons disturbance, went into an apartment and arrested the men they found having sex there on a charge of “deviant sexual intercourse.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in that case was about private lives, and stated specifically that “it does not involve public conduct or prostitution,” he wrote, quoting the opinion.

Five other judges signed Weimer’s opinion.

In a separate opinion, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero said he agreed that the Texas ruling did not deal with soliciting oral sex for money. However, he said, he thinks it does indicate that the Louisiana law’s five-year prison term may be unconstitutionally harsh. But Thomas didn’t raise that issue, so the court could not consider it, he wrote.

The other lawsuit was filed in 1996 by the Louisiana Electorate for Gays and Lesbians. State District Judge Robert Murphy forbade parish prosecutors to pursue any cases involving consenting adults.

But Murphy left intact parts of the law forbidding human sex with animals, solicitation for oral and anal sex and aggravated crimes against nature.

Murphy also declined to strike down a law giving the state attorney general’s office power to prosecute organizations formed for the purpose of organized homosexuality, prostitution, narcotics and other activities spelled out in the law.

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