Last edited: December 20, 2004


Louisiana Sodomy Law Upheld

Advocate, Weekend, July 8-10, 2000

The Louisiana supreme court upheld the state’s sodomy law on Thursday, saying the state had the right to ban "an immoral act." The 5-2 ruling came in the case of a man convicted of having oral sex with a woman. The man’s conviction had been overturned by a lower court that ruled the sodomy law unconstitutional. Louisiana’s law punishes consensual oral or anal sex for heterosexuals as well as gays and lesbians with a prison term of up to five years. "Simply put, commission of what the Legislature determines is an immoral act, even if consensual and private, is an injury against society itself," Justice Chet Traylor wrote in the majority opinion. In a dissent, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero Jr. and Justice Harry Lemmon said the state had no right to intrude on private matters. "The only apparent purpose of the prohibition is to dictate the type of sex that is acceptable to legislators," Lemmon wrote. A civil lawsuit filed by gay rights supporters challenging the law on other legal grounds is still pending in the state courts.

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