Last edited: February 12, 2005


Triangle/Lawmakers Aim to Clean Up the Books

Legislation would repeal outdated, unconstitutional Michigan laws

Triangle Foundation, May 5, 2003
Contact: Sean Kosofsky
313-537-3323 x 105

Detroit, MI—One of Michigan’s leading civil rights organizations is partnering with lawmakers to help bring the state into the 21st Century. Triangle Foundation and State Representative Steven Tobocman (D) Detroit announced today a new legislative repeal package that would eliminate “arcane” or antiquated laws from Michigan law, including Gross Indecency.

For the first time ever, legislation has been introduced to repeal Michigan’ s Gross Indecency Laws (House Bills 4614 & 4615), which many believe are unconstitutionally vague and unnecessary. The Gross Indecency Statutes punish adult, consensual, non-commercial sex as a felony punishable up to 15 years in prison. House Bills 4616 & 4617 would repeal several other laws that prohibit cursing, cursing in front of women and children, blasphemy, cohabitation, and cohabitation after divorce.

“Michigan routinely repeals outdated laws but unfortunately these eight have remained,” said Sean Kosofsky, Director of Policy for Triangle Foundation. “These laws are unconstitutional, unnecessary, and mostly unused. Most people believe these laws are silly and that Michigan looks silly for maintaining them.”

“Michigan is the only state in the nation that charges “gross indecency between men” said Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of Triangle Foundation. “This law has been abused by law enforcement as a form of intimidation against gay men and as the pretext for profiling. It is used to ruin careers, families, and smear someone’s name as a so-called “sex offender” for sexual behavior that is consensual and does not involve money, a minor, or force.”

“As a new policy maker in Lansing I was shocked to see that these laws were still on the books,” said Steven Tobocman, freshman State Representative from Southwest Detroit. “Michigan is in financial trouble and the last thing we need is to waste time and money enforcing laws like these.”


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