Last edited: December 08, 2004

Sodomy Law Struck Down in Minnesota

Washington Blade, May 25, 2001

By Rhonda Smith

MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota District Court Judge Delila Pierce struck down that states sodomy law last Friday, ruling that it violates the right to privacy guaranteed by Minnesota’s constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Unions Lesbian & Gay Rights Project filed a lawsuit challenging the states sodomy statute, along with the ACLU’s Minnesota affiliate.

"This is a tremendous victory because of what [sodomy laws] say," said Matt Coles, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian & Gay Rights Project in New York City. "A society’s laws are its core statement of right and wrong. Sodomy laws, because they are understood to primarily apply to lesbians and gay men, marginalize gay people and their pursuit of equal citizenship."

The ACLU has asked the court to technically certify the case, Doe et al. v. Jesse Ventura et al., as a class-action so that it would leave "absolutely no question" that the law cannot be enforced statewide.

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s administration could file legal papers opposing efforts to certify the case. But he is not expected to do so.

John Wodele, a spokesperson for Ventura, told the Associated Press this week: "Its consistent with the governors philosophy that there are some things the government has no business making laws about."

ACLU officials said 15 states now have laws prohibiting oral and anal sex between consenting adults: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Arizona Gov. Jane Hull signed a law in early May repealing that states sodomy statute. A state court in Arkansas ruled in March that the sodomy law there was unconstitutional. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court is reviewing the ACLU’s challenge to its sodomy law.

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