Last edited: February 14, 2005


Man Admits "Crimes Against Nature"

PlanetOut News, March 14, 2001

By Barbara Dozetos

SUMMARY: In what civil libertarians say is a pattern, a state sodomy law is once again being used to "pass judgment" on homosexuality.

A Louisiana man pleaded guilty this week to a felony "crime against nature" for engaging in homosexual acts in a public place while on a work detail from a Bossier Parish jail.

William Wright and two other inmates were charged when elementary school students and teachers saw them engaged in sexual activity near their school last October. The prisoners were cleaning up the grounds of a nearby church.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors dropped a lesser charge of obscenity in exchange for Williams’s guilty plea and his testimony against the other two inmates. He faces up to an additional five years in prison for the crime, but his cooperation may be taken into account when he is sentenced.

"As shocking as it may sound, this [crime against nature charge] isn’t unusual," said Eric Ferrero, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights Project. Sodomy laws are still on the books in roughly a dozen Southern states, as well as a handful of others around the country. Contrary to the widely held belief that they exist in name only, "[these laws] are used to deny lesbians and gay men jobs and custody of their children," Ferrero said.

"We also hear plenty of stories like this one, where sodomy laws are essentially used to pass judgment on people’s sexuality," Ferrero said. "If men have sex in a public, they should be charged with having sex in public not with having gay sex."

The Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians is currently challenging the constitutionality of the sodomy law in state court.

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