Devastating Sex Offender Law Taken to Court in Louisiana
Sodomy laws are alive and well in Louisiana, and the Center for Constitutional Rights reports that they are having a devastating effect on many people. So they have filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Jindal, in their defense.
In Louisiana, people accused of soliciting sex for a fee can be criminally charged in two ways: either under the prostitution statute, or under the solicitation provision of the Crime Against Nature statute. This archaic statute, adopted in 1805, outlaws “unnatural carnal copulation,” which has been defined by Louisiana courts as oral and anal (but not vaginal) sex. Police and prosecutors have unfettered discretion in choosing which to charge. But a Crime Against Nature conviction subjects people to far harsher penalties than a prostitution conviction. Most significantly, individuals convicted of a Crime Against Nature are forced to register as sex offenders.
The registry law imposes many harsh requirements that impacts every aspect of our clients’ lives. For example, they must carry a state driver’s license or non-drivers’ identification document which brands them as a sex offender in bright orange capital letters. They must disclose the fact that they are registered as a sex offender to neighbors, landlords, employers, schools, parks, community centers, and churches. Their names, address, and photographs appear on the internet.
Alexis Agathocleous, a staff attorney with the CCR, and the co-litigator of the case, writes:
"Every other offense that requires sex offender registration in Louisiana involves violence, lack of consent, or a child. There's no force or lack of consent or children involved here. There's just no public safety rationale that could justify the distinction the state has drawn. All that animates this law is a long history of moral disapproval of non-procreative sex acts and blatant homophobia. And as such, the entire LGBT community should be outraged about what's happening in Louisiana."