Louisiana | News

Louisiana Votes to Keep Unconstitutional Law Criminalizing Sodomy

The Louisiana House voted 66-27 to reject a bill that would have repealed the state's unconstitutional law criminalizing sodomy, the Times-Picayune reports:

SmithA House Committee passed the legislation onto the body's floor by a vote of 9-6 last week. But one of the state's most powerful lobbying groups, the conservative Christian Louisiana Family Forum, opposes striking the sodomy ban.

The law remaining on the books came under national scrutiny last summer when East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs' Deputies used the statute to arrest men who agreed to have sex with undercover male law enforcement officers.  The District Attorney declined to prosecute the men, and the sheriff, Sid Gautreaux, under intense criticism, later apologized for the arrests.

Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, a Democrat who represents Baton Rouge, said she brought the bill, in part, because of those arrests, which drew negative national attention to her community.

The Supreme Court invalidated all anti-sodomy laws with its Lawrence v. Texas decision in 2003 but 17 states have still not formally repealed or revised their laws.

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Comments

  1. Since when does state law trump Federal law.

    Posted by: Jaysonn | Apr 15, 2014 7:15:48 PM


  2. Louisiana: leading the way into the 19th century.

    Posted by: Clayton | Apr 15, 2014 7:17:08 PM


  3. Cool!

    Another entry in the Animus scrapbook to prepare for the Supreme Court.

    Yeah, right, these laws aren't based on bigotry and hatred.

    Posted by: Lymis | Apr 15, 2014 7:19:26 PM


  4. Yep, next time we slam Russia or Uganda please spare a thought for the gays in Louisiana as well. SMH

    Posted by: ny2.0 | Apr 15, 2014 7:22:24 PM


  5. Can't a state or federal court order the legislature to repeal the law or remove it from the books?

    Posted by: john patrick | Apr 15, 2014 7:53:39 PM


  6. How, how, HOW do the GOP and conservatives keep claiming they're the party of less government interference in your lives, and then keep pulling this crap? (See also: the new Oklahoma law that FORBIDS businesses from establishing a minimum wage, vacation, sick days, etc.) Because the knuckle-draggers think "As long as I can buy as many guns as I want and take 'em wherever I want to, I'm free!" Barf.

    Posted by: Dback | Apr 15, 2014 7:56:16 PM


  7. Keep it on the books and let the local authorities/police (who are paid by tax payers) get their asses sued off when they enforce it. They'll have to learn the financial burden of being bigots.

    Posted by: Craig | Apr 15, 2014 7:58:28 PM


  8. Do these idiots understand that straight couples who engage in oral sex or pretty much anything that is not intercourse that leads to reproduction are committing sodomy and can be charged under this law?

    Posted by: shanestud | Apr 15, 2014 8:47:12 PM


  9. Is this anti-sodomy law ONLY applicable to gay men?

    Because there are a LOT of adult movies being filmed in Louisiana lately, and most of it straight, or conveniently girl-on-girl bi, and we all know how much sodomy goes on in adult films. It is a big trend. And it conveniently brings the state a lot of money.

    What I'm trying to say is, if sodomy is against the law, then gender and sexual orientation should be no issue when it comes to arresting law-breaking citizens.

    Women must immediately start calling that sheriff's office, and in the same breath the media, alerting every time a straight man requests sodomy. Wouldn't that be fun to read about in the news; Let's see how long the state upholds the law.

    Posted by: Philly | Apr 15, 2014 8:47:38 PM


  10. So backwards. It's irrelevant if they leave this on the books, because the law has been deemed unconstitutional. I am proud to have broken said law numerous times on previous visits to Louisiana.

    Posted by: SoLeftImRight | Apr 15, 2014 8:47:39 PM


  11. @John Patrick. It doesn't work that way. States have to remove these laws from the books themselves. According to the article in the link below, these states still have some kind of sodomy law:

    "More than a decade after the Lawrence decision, several other states still have sodomy bans on the books, including Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah."

    Source: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/03/06/3369331/virginia-sodomy-repealed/

    Another example: we currently have marriage equality in California, but the ban against same sex marriage (Prop H8) will remain in the California constitution until there's another ballot initiative passed by the voters to remove it.

    Posted by: Rexford | Apr 15, 2014 8:49:29 PM


  12. nice... let's keep a law like this on the books even if it's toothless, just to kick queer people in the teeth for fun. FU, Louisiana! Maybe it's time to move Southern Decadence and then see if they still want to keep this law...

    Posted by: graphicjack | Apr 15, 2014 9:07:21 PM


  13. Just sellin votes for cash cuz stupid buys the hate and the electeds milk it daily. Keep em stupid, hateful, biblical and voting. An rock back with a bourbon and have a laugh. Despicable people.

    Posted by: Urbanmike | Apr 15, 2014 10:04:50 PM


  14. Huh? Shouldn't the police who operated this sting have been jailed too????

    Posted by: Chrislam | Apr 16, 2014 12:25:08 AM


  15. Dear Louisiana: Remember what happened the last time Southern states openly flouted federal authority?

    And this time, there will be no Reconstruction.

    Posted by: General Grant | Apr 16, 2014 12:41:27 AM


  16. There is , in fact, something that the southern states are clearly trying to do- go back to the Civil War era and set up a war for states to have total control over rights , and fight Federal "interference". The whole concept of States' rights is outdated and unnecessary.

    Posted by: Nelson | Apr 16, 2014 5:44:14 AM


  17. For reference, here is the (relevant part of the) statute. I would note that Section A doesn't appear to actually prohibit anything - it merely defines (poorly, but apparently including anal sex) the term "crime against nature". The remainder of the law thus seems moot.

    I would also note that the definition applies equally to straight, including married, couples.

    R.S. 14:89. Crime against nature

    A. Crime against nature is the unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex or with an animal, except that anal sexual intercourse between two human beings shall not be deemed as a crime against nature when done under any of the circumstances described in R.S. 14:41, 14:42, 14:42.1 or 14:43 [statutes dealing with rape]. Emission is not necessary; and, when committed by a human being with another, the use of the genital organ of one of the offenders of whatever sex is sufficient to constitute the crime.

    B.(1) Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.

    (2)(3) [Provide harsher punishments if minor involved]

    C. It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this Section that, during the time of the alleged commission of the offense, the defendant was a victim of trafficking of children for sexual purposes as provided in R.S. 14:46.3(E).

    Posted by: TKinSC | Apr 16, 2014 5:55:01 AM


  18. Naturally, the Christian Louisiana Family forum is behind the big push....why are we not surprised?

    Posted by: codyj | Apr 16, 2014 7:41:37 AM


  19. The law is used as a justification for police raids. The law remaining on the books came under national scrutiny last summer when East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs' Deputies used the statute to arrest men who agreed to have sex with undercover male law enforcement officers. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/04/post_558.html

    By my quick count most Republicans voted for it and among Democrats 26 or so Democrats voted against the bill while 8 cowards abstained and 11 Democrats voted for it for a total of 26 against and 19 for or abstaining.

    I wonder how the bigot Democrat Senator from Louisiana Mary Landrieu would have voted. She recently said that "The confusion is a result of the hazy position of Louisiana's Mary Landrieu. Last Thursday, she said in a statement that, while her "personal views have evolved," the "people of Louisiana have made clear that marriage in our state is restricted to one man and one woman" and she intends to "support the outcome of Louisiana's recent vote." The next day, Landrieu ditched the evolution rhetoric and told CNN "that she personally believes 'people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry,' but that her obligation rests with the people of Louisiana who elected her."

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/04/mary-landrieu-gay-marriage-support.html

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 16, 2014 10:41:34 AM


  20. The law is used as a justification for police raids. The law remaining on the books came under national scrutiny last summer when East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs' Deputies used the statute to arrest men who agreed to have sex with undercover male law enforcement officers. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/04/post_558.html

    By my quick count most Republicans voted for it and among Democrats 26 or so Democrats voted against the bill while 8 cowards abstained and 11 Democrats voted for it for a total of 26 against and 19 for or abstaining.

    I wonder how the bigot Democrat Senator from Louisiana Mary Landrieu would have voted. She recently said that "The confusion is a result of the hazy position of Louisiana's Mary Landrieu. Last Thursday, she said in a statement that, while her "personal views have evolved," the "people of Louisiana have made clear that marriage in our state is restricted to one man and one woman" and she intends to "support the outcome of Louisiana's recent vote." The next day, Landrieu ditched the evolution rhetoric and told CNN "that she personally believes 'people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry,' but that her obligation rests with the people of Louisiana who elected her."

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/04/mary-landrieu-gay-marriage-support.html

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 16, 2014 10:41:43 AM


  21. The original law was passed in the seventies when the evangelical movement really picked up steam in the South. Prior to that sodomy laws were more exact and had lesser penalties. LA can keep the law on the books just in case the Supreme Court rules it constitutional again and no lawmaker wants to be "pro-sodomy" in the South, so I can't see a way to repeal it. The best way to deal with bad laws like these are "sunset" provisions that take old useless laws off the books after a proscribed period of time unless re-enacted somehow.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 16, 2014 11:18:12 AM


  22. @SoLeftImRight : it is not completely irrelevant. An arrest under the law would be thrown out based on the Supreme Court decision, but the victim still has to deal with the arrest (e.g., the cost of hiring an attorney), and in some cases the publicity as the details of his sexual activity get plastered over the newspapers.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 16, 2014 1:52:11 PM


  23. I wish we had that law in California. Then we wouldn't need to think up excuses to say we weren't in the mood.

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 17, 2014 12:37:03 PM


  24. NY Times Re Obama and Biden Evolution:
    In politics, there are no such things as "heartfelt" comments. It's all calculated. While appearing open, he actually made life very dangerous for many gays who live in unforgiving areas of the country. America has not "embraced" homosexuality. TV, movies and the media are still crafting it. -GB 4/16

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 17, 2014 12:42:06 PM


  25. Towle creedo: When in doubt, "back date and bury."

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 17, 2014 2:46:52 PM


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