Last edited: February 14, 2005

Sodomy Law Returns to Courts for Review of Scope

Associated Press, June 6, 2001

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union and state attorneys will debate in court Thursday whether a recent ruling on Minnesota’s sodomy law should be certified as a class action.

State District Court Judge Delila Pierce said in a May 18 ruling that the state’s ban on oral sex and other intimacy between consenting adults was unconstitutional because it violated the right of privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution.

Although the state court ruling should prevent the sodomy law from being enforced anywhere in Minnesota, the MnCLU wants the court to technically classify the case as a class action. MnCLU attorney Teresa Nelson said that would leave "absolutely no uncertainty" that the law cannot be enforced statewide.

But Attorney General Mike Hatch said in a court memorandum that the case would not qualify for class-action status because most Minnesotans will not suffer the same penalties as the seven plaintiffs in the original lawsuit.

The plaintiffs were a group of gay and straight Minnesotans whose jobs, homes or relationships with their children were threatened by the sodomy law.

Hatch said if MnCLU officials were concerned that people beyond the seven plaintiffs wouldn’t be covered, they should amend the complaint to name all city and county attorneys as defendants.

[Home] [News] [Minnesota]